Keeping Your Loved One Safe in a Nursing Home

Age is an inevitable part of life – or so we hope.  It is something to be celebrated as the years are added like jewels to a crown. The elderly have lifetimes of stories to share and wisdom to impart and should be treated as treasures of great worth.

How do you know your treasures are safe and well cared for? What policies and procedures are in place that help to instill the confidence you need to entrust someone else to care for them when you are no longer able?

Any reputable facility will have in place a policy and procedures manual that spells out how an incident will be handled, in the event that there is one. An “incident” can range from anything such as choking, to a fall.  Such things are common occurrences and the staff is to be well versed on how these situations are reported and should be followed up with anyone on duty at the time of the incident.  Too often, one has to rely on the integrity of the staff because the patient may not be able to accurately describe or recall an event.

Elderly abuse, unfortunately, does happen. When we are forced to give up the care of our beloved, we want to know that they are going to be safe. Be sure you know the procedures in case of an accident. Visit them unexpectedly so you can see how the home is run. If you don’t live nearby, or are perhaps in another state, enlist someone you trust to check in on the facility unexpectedly for you.

In 2004, a Federal Complaint/Incident System was implemented with the stated purpose of promoting and protecting the health, safety, and the welfare of residents receiving health care services. This system provided the first national database of mistreatment in the nursing home setting. (see here)

If you should encounter an issue. Be sure to report it and seek help in making sure it doesn’t happen to your loved one or anyone else again.