A Kid Glove on an Iron Fist: Monitoring Your Loved One’s Nursing Home

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You researched, and visited, and talked extensively with the staff. Now your mother is in the best Kentucky nursing home you could find. Do you think your work is done? U.S. News & World Report’s Health section provides some ideas on things to keep in mind and to do after your mother is in her nursing home.

Remember, She’s Adjusting to a New Home

Even if your mother loves her nursing home, the first few weeks may be rough for her; after all, up until now, she has lived in the privacy of her own home. It stands to reason that she will go through an adjustment period, perhaps accompanied by feelings of anger, depression, and despair.

Illness and accidents—particularly falls—are unfortunately common in nursing homes. You should be on the lookout, however, for stark changes in your mother’s appearance, disposition, or health in the first few weeks in the nursing home. Such changes could be the result of abuse, neglect, or inadequate care. “Someone who is relatively active shouldn’t experience a steep decline,” according to Janet Wells, director of public policy for the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform.

Watch for Lethargy

If your mother becomes dull and lethargic, the staff may be giving her drugs. Wells says that a universal concern in nursing homes is “the use of medications to keep people quiet so they’re not a bother and don’t require staff.” Such practices have a detrimental effect on residents’ mental sharpness and increase the likelihood that they will develop pressure sores and muscle atrophy.

Find Out About Specially Trained Staff

When residents develop health problems, specially trained health professionals should be available to treat the problems. Pressure sores, for example, should be treated by staff that are specially trained to take care of wounds.

Don’t Antagonize the Staff

You’ve probably heard the bromide that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar; it’s true. People respond more positively—even to complaints—if the person voicing the complaint treats them with respect. If you have a serious concern about your mother’s care at the nursing home, don’t lose your temper. Express yourself calmly, and ask if there is anything you can do to help improve the situation.

Do things that help out the staff, too; for example, give the nursing aide a break by showing up for your visit at meal times. If you are present when the aide comes to help your mother with grooming or some other small task, offer to do it. You will gain an advocate.

Request Consistent Caregivers

Hospitals and nursing homes typically rotate their staff, so a resident does not necessarily have the same caregivers. Urge the nursing director to assign the same caregivers to your mother. It might take persistence on your part, but the nursing home is likely to respond to your request.

Trade Information

Let your mother’s caregivers know about her personality, what she likes and dislikes, and any medical information that may not be obvious. In turn, ask the staff if your mother is having difficulty with any part of her routine or activities there; you may be able to provide information or insight that will help the caregivers help her.

Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.