As we close out Residents’ Rights Month, there are some final notes we’d like to make. In order to ensure quality care for yourself and loved ones, it is vital to know how to approach finding and securing your spot at a nursing home or care facility. Here we’d like to join the Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) in making sure everyone is aware of key things to look for and actions to take in your search so your rights are preserved and you receive the care you deserve and need.
Red Flags & Signs of Quality
All nursing home and care facility residents have a right to quality care that addresses all their needs. Most nursing homes allow tours (though the rules for this may be different because of COVID guidelines) so you should be able to get good insight into the workings of the facility before you decide to live there or place a loved one there. Below are some red flags as well as some good signs of quality care.
Red Flag: Residents seem unclean or there are signs of poor hygiene such as odors, dirty clothes or sheets, or messy furniture. Poor hygiene leads to an increase in other diseases.
Sign of Quality Care: The nursing home or care facility is clean with very little clutter and smells fresh. Additionally, you should notice that the rooms and common areas are not too hot or cold. All of these things are basic signs that the staff and administrative staff are paying attention and care about the facility’s appearance as well as the residents’ comfort.
Red Flag: Severe lack of staff. Because there have been some staffing issues brought to light in recent years, it is important to note whether or not there is enough staff. While you don’t have to keep an exact count, you should notice the staff’s response to requests for help and call bells. If there seems to be a lot of residents asking for help, a lot of call lights lit, or a general lack of staff throughout the facility, it might be due to staffing shortages that can lead to neglect.
Sign of Quality: Community is engaging. The community should host a variety of events, have access to religious services for all residents, have adequate transportation, emergency plans, and staff and residents that are welcoming and helpful. Additionally, it is a great sign of good quality care if the staff is encouraging residents to get involved and attend planned events. There should be a good sense of community instead of a feeling of a hospital.
To learn more about what makes a quality facility, visit the Consumer Voice fact sheet.
Advocating For Yourself & Loved Ones
Advocating for yourself and loved ones is the best way to find and ensure continually good care. And advocating can start well before you or your loved ones begins living in the nursing home. Some good things to do before picking a facility are:
- Speaking to an administrative representative, staff representative, and a social worker.
- Speaking to an ombudsman
- Get in touch with Adult Protective Services. They may be able to give you insight into any reports made about the facility you’re interested in.
All of these steps are also key in reporting incidents of abuse or neglect, so once you’ve spoken to someone in each of these positions, be sure to keep up with you you’ve spoken to as well as the updated contact information you might need.
For more information regarding residents’ rights and what to look for when seeking quality care, be sure to read the Consumer Voice fact sheet, explore the Residents’ Rights Month website, and know your rights as a resident.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of neglect or abuse, call Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) for a free consultation and the best legal representation.