Choosing the best nursing home for an elderly loved one can be a difficult task. Although some information about nursing home ratings and previous safety violations can be located, recent reports suggest that information is often incomplete, or even worse, that it may be incorrect and misleading. Moreover, you cannot always know for certain whether a facility will pose injury risks to its residents based on its history. While a history of safety violations should certainly be a cause for concern, even skilled nursing facilities with clear records can be places where elderly residents sustain serious and life-threatening injuries.
How can you know what to look for in a nursing home? More often than not, it is important to know what you should not see at a nursing home or assisted-living facility. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is more important than ever to be able to recognize red flags at nursing homes. The following are red flags that should raise concern.
High Rate of Infections and Deaths From COVID-19
Nursing homes that have had a high percentage of COVID-19 infections and deaths may have problems with infection-control measures, or may be failing to implement safety protocols, such as requiring employees and visitors to wear masks, or ensuring that staff members are fully vaccinated.
Odors or Uncleanliness at the Nursing Home
If there are foul odors at a nursing home, such as the smell of urine, the facility could be understaffed and residents may not be getting adequate care or assistance with activities of daily living. Likewise, unclean rooms or facilities more generally should be warning signs.
Slow Response Times
When residents do not receive relatively quick care when they press a call button or seek help, the facility could be understaffed. Understaffing is often a cause of injuries resulting from passive neglect, and friends and family members should be aware of the indications of slow response times.
High Turnover Rates
When a nursing home has unhappy employees and a high turnover rate, the quality of care for seniors at the facility usually suffers. Businesses in general that provide good and safe working conditions for employees do not lose those employees at high rates. As such, when a nursing home does have high turnover rates, it may not be paying its staff members adequately or providing other incentives to remain and do quality work.
Lack of Activity
When most residents of nursing homes are in their rooms at any hour of the day, and there are signs that there are few or no activities for the residents, the quality of life likely is not high.
History of Safety Complaints or Violations
Finally, any history of nursing home complaints or safety violations should be a significant red flag. While nursing home abuse and neglect can certainly happen at facilities with no history of abuse or injury, the article in U.S. News & World Report underscores that a record of complaints should be a strong indicator to find another facility.
Contact Our Los Angeles County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If you have concerns about a loved one in a nursing home, you should seek advice from an experienced Los Angeles County nursing home abuse attorney who can assess the case. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can help.
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