Over the years we have litigated Nursing Home Neglect cases in Tennessee and throughout the country. One difficult part of these cases is that by the time a family comes to our office the neglect has already occurred and the harm has been suffered. As such, anytime we find new tools to help a family avoid potential neglect we try to pass it along. One tool that we recommend is the Nursing Home Compare. Although these tools are helpful please remember there is nothing better than visiting the home on a regular basis.
The Nursing Home Compare tool was created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. They have uploaded full stats from 15,000 nursing home inspections reports. Historically, you would only be able view ranking and general inspections results but not the information is much more detailed. Specifically, you can view the full report and look at the details of the entire inspection. It is a great tool to start you search for a good home. However, it is crucial that you do not stop here.
Specifically, it is important to remember that even though information on the internet is helpful it is no substitute for visiting the actual nursing home you are considering. Here are some tips that may help in selecting a good home and making sure adequate care is being received:
1. Location — Your loved one needs both your regular visits and your irregular ones. Studies show that unscheduled visits to nursing homes help insure good care. Though it is not always possible it best that a nursing home be a convenient trip for friends, relatives and physicians. The nursing home should also be fairly close to a hospital that can handle medical emergencies.
2. Observe– Although it sounds simple make sure it is a place that you would feel comfortable staying in for a few nights. Does it look and smell clean? Is the lighting, noise and temperature all at pleasant levels? Do the meals look appetizing?
3. Talk to Everyone.. Talk to both the staff and families of other residents. The staff should welcome your questions and be eager to provide information. There always needs to be an open line of communication.
4. Activities. Take notice of the activities offered. You are not necessarily looking for the number of activities but the type of activities. Are they the type your loved one would enjoy? It is important that we all keep busy doing activities that stimulate us physically and mentally.
5. Staffing. Staffing is one of the most critical issues we see in these cases. An insufficient number of staff or poorly trained staff will inevitability result in bad care. Ask how the staff is chosen and if criminal background checks are performed. Also, make sure there are enough employees around to care for the residents. Are call lights being answered? Food being delivered and cleaned up in a timely manner?
If you are have had a love one suffer as the result of inadequate care at a nursing home, please feel free to contact one of our Tennessee Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers. We also have lawyers licensed in Kentucky and Georgia to purse nursing home abuse cases.