You want to feel confident that the choice of nursing home you made for your loved one was the right decision; likely, it was. However, the unexpected can happen. Here are four tips you can use to help protect Mom, Dad or your elderly aunt from nursing home abuse and neglect.
A little background
One cold January night, a motorist found a nursing home resident wandering along a freeway in the Mojave Desert. The resident, who had only been in the nursing home for a few hours, was trying to go home to Wisconsin. The nursing home notified the daughter and her husband of the incident and claimed they could not care for the father, presumably because he could escape their secure facility. The nursing home was the only one close to the area where the daughter and husband lived. Weeks of legal negotiation ensued, and the father was finally allowed to stay. To stave off further worries, here are four tips the daughter relied on to help keep her dad safe from abuse and neglect.
1. Make frequent visits
Visit your loved one at least twice a week. If you cannot make it, ask another relative or friend to stop by the nursing home, spend some time with the resident and get an idea of how he or she is getting along.
2. Speak with staff regularly
Build a relationship with the staff members caring for your loved one. Let them know how vibrant he or she once was. Filling people in about a person’s past helps them relate to the whole person, not just the patient they see now.
3. Use respect and appreciation
Most nursing home staff members have long hours and low wages. Show them respect for their work, and let them know how much you appreciate all they do for your loved one.
4. Bring treats
You will earn high marks with staff if you occasionally bring treats, everything from a box of donuts to a pizza or a tray of sandwiches.
If your efforts to become more watchful and involved fail to produce the desired results and you believe your loved one is subject to abuse or neglect, explore your legal options without delay and hold the nursing home accountable.