Recently, a New York woman pleaded guilty to charges in connection with neglect and sexual abuse of nursing home residents in a New York long term care facility. The woman’s case was related to charges against others working at the facility, including the company that operates the home. According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 10 persons over the age of 60 have been affected by elder abuse, many of which go unreported. The number of elder abuse cases increases dramatically in nursing homes, with abuse occurring in 1 in 3 nursing homes. Sometimes a nursing facility is the best care setting for a loved one; however, with the staggering statistics of nursing home abuse cases, you have to take steps to ensure your loved one is getting the best care possible with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Showing Up is Half the Battle
One of the single most effective ways to ensure the proper care for your loved one is to visit the facility often and monitor your loved one’s condition. By frequently making visits to your loved one’s facility you can engage the staff, observe behavior, ask important questions, and make your presence known to those who will be providing care. By planning your visits at varying intervals and times, you can ensure your visits are unexpected so that you have the opportunity to see the delivery of care throughout the day and different staff members.
Evaluate the Facilities
Another tip to protect your loved one is touring the facility, and inspecting the settings in which care is provided. The State of New York provides an informative website that catalogs inspection reports for nursing facilities across the state. You should also review the nursing home’s preparedness plan in the event of disasters like floods, fire, and tornadoes. In addition to showing up, knowledge is the key to keeping your loved one safe.
Make Sure Staffing is Adequate
Adequate staffing will have a direct relationship to the quality of care received by resident-patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issue guidance on staffing ratios that take into account the number of caregivers, level of licensure, and number of residents at the facility. Obviously, more skilled care professionals on duty will translate to readily available care to the residents of the nursing home facility. The State of New York and other agencies make nursing home staffing information available to the public so you can evaluate staffing levels for facilities in New York. Taking the time to personally evaluate the nursing home facility, and those who deliver care, will go a long way to protecting your loved one from the risks that many elderly face.