12 Nursing Home Issues You Need to Know About
Making the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home is never an easy one. As the one responsible, you must weigh the advantages and disadvantages and ask yourself the tough questions before making a decision. While nursing homes can provide full-time care, structured schedules, and expert medical attention, there’s always the fear of underlying issues.
As you carefully select a nursing home, these are a few of the negative aspects you should look out for:
- Binding arbitration agreements don’t allow you to file a lawsuit: You should review all of the print in a contract before making a decision on a nursing home. If you notice anything that says “binding arbitration agreements,” this means you must settle any differences outside of court, prohibiting you from suing.
- Residents may not have enough freedom to live happily: A regimented schedule has its benefits, but you don’t want a home that severely restricts the freedoms of its residents. According to a study published in Aging & Mental Health, of the 65 nursing home residents they interviewed, nearly half felt depressed or lonely because of the lack of freedom.
- Residents may not get enough to eat: A good nursing home should handle meals so that no one goes hungry or malnourished. Many elderly people in care facilities suffer from “anorexia of aging.”
- Nurses may be temporary: Nursing homes are notoriously understaffed. As a result, many temporary nurses from staffing agencies are hired, and while their services are welcomed, they rarely form bonds with residents because of their ephemeral positions.
- Residents may have to leave their doctors: Most nursing homes have assigned doctors, which makes it hard for residents to keep the physician they’re accustomed to seeing.
- Nursing homes may be understaffed. According to studies, more than 90% of nursing homes are currently understaffed, putting residents at a greater risk of malnutrition, weight loss, bedsores, depression, infections, pneumonia, falling, incontinence, and urinary tract infections.
- Expensive bills may be forced on relatives: In 2017, the average cost for assisted living was nearly $4,000 a month. While the high costs are enough to think twice, there’s another issue you should know about—expenses may accidentally get sent out to relatives, forcing them to pay the bills.
- Employees may not be washing their hands: Despite signs designed to remind employees to wash their hands, not all may participate. Understaffed nursing homes tend to have the most hand-washing issues.
- Nursing assistants may have no formal training: Since so many nursing homes are understaffed, they may hire untrained workers and push them to be nursing assistants.
- Neglect and abuse are extremely common: While it may be intentional at times, neglect can also be a product of understaffing, undertraining, and high turnover rates. Neglect aside, sexual assault and abuse have also been observed in nursing homes.
- A nursing home may not provide everything you need: If a nursing home asks a resident to seek outside assistance and incur additional costs, it may be negligence.
- The physical therapy unit may not be up to par: Aside from the rooms and recreational areas, ask staff members to take you on a tour of the physical therapy unit. There may be outdated machinery or physical therapists doing contractual work.
- Activities department may be inadequate: A nursing home may have bingo and birthday parties, but a great one should have many more events to choose from.
- Residents may lack privacy: Privacy is important, but that can be difficult to have in a shared room. While residents do have the option of private rooms, they are usually more expensive.
At Brown & Barron, LLC, we work on the behalf of individuals who are often the most vulnerable in our society, such as the elderly. If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected, please contact our Baltimore nursing home abuse & neglect attorneys immediately. If you enlist our legal guidance, we can help you begin an investigation, collect evidence, interview witnesses and build a strong case to protect the rights of your loved one.
Call (410) 698-1717 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We’re available 24/7 to talk