As the loved one of a prospective nursing home resident, making sure you find the best possible facility is of utmost importance. But what does the “best possible” facility look like? It’s easy to consider the obvious – for example, How’s the food? Does the staff have a criminal record? It’s not as easy, however, to address concerns you aren’t aware of yet.
For families and friends who may not be familiar with the process, this big life change can come with a lot of unknown elements. But you aren’t out of luck. Taking steps to ensure your loved one is safe from nursing home mistreatment starts with understanding what to look for in these facilities.
It may ease your stress to know that Virginia has set standards for nursing facilities that are meant to keep residents safe from abuse and thriving. With that in mind, consider the following factors as you seek the best home for your loved one.
1. Does the Facility Seem Well-Staffed?
Nursing homes must have enough qualified nurses on staff to adequately provide for the needs of each resident. All personnel must also be adequately trained in policies and laws relevant to the facility, this includes (but isn’t limited to) the ability to implement emergency plans, understand residents’ rights, and practice proper sanitation.
2. Will Your Loved One Have Regular Access to a Physician?
Per Virginia law, the facility must accommodate residents with the care of a physician licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine. Once your loved one is admitted to the facility, a medical plan of care must be put in place that includes any necessary treatments, dietary needs, exams, and other measures relevant to your loved one’s health.
3. Recreational Activities and Social Opportunities
Recreational time matters. Ask your facility representative what the regularly scheduled activities are like. Are they suiting the needs of each resident based on their care plan? Does their plan for recreation provide opportunities for a fruitful social life and community? It may surprise you, but nursing facilities are required to have at least one qualified staff member who is responsible for coordinating recreational activities for residents.
4. Housekeeping and Infection Control
A clean and infection-free space is a must. During your tour at the facility, keep an eye out for unkempt rooms or warning signs that residents may not be receiving the care necessary for a healthy way of life. These facilities must also train and monitor staff to ensure that infectious diseases aren’t spread. Combating these infectious diseases requires measures like effective pest control programs, adequate disposal of medical waste, and education that encourages risk-reduction behavior.
5. And Then There’s the Food…
Food can be the source of a variety of potential problems at a nursing home. Poorly managed food can lead to poisoning, disease, residents not eating the right diets – the list could go on. But then there’s the quality of taste to consider. Ask if the facility will allow you and your loved one to have a meal there. Residents not only have the right to a meal catered to their diets but to a meal that’s adequate in taste and temperature.
Bring a List of Questions or Concerns
There certainly is a lot to consider when it comes to finding the proper home. At the end of the day, you know your loved one best and what they need for adequate care. Consider brainstorming a list of questions you might want to ask upon visiting a facility. And remember that Virginia law has an extensive list of nursing home requirements; the law is on your side.
Over 25 Years of Advocating for the Injured
At Geoff McDonald and Associates in Richmond, we provide personal injury representation for clients from throughout Virginia whose injuries have created significant losses in their life. If you suspect a loved one of yours has become the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact us for a free consultation.