Tips for Families of Nursing Home Residents
Deciding it’s time to move a loved one into a nursing home is one of the most difficult and scary decisions a person can make. You know your family member can no longer live alone or care for themselves. Putting them in an environment where they can thrive could benefit their health.
You might wonder how to keep them safe even when they live away from you in a facility. You might need more than the staff members’ word that your loved one will receive the shelter, food, and medical treatment they need. Below are some tips families of nursing home residents can follow to ensure their safety and health.
Visit Your Relative in the Nursing Home
Whether your parent, friend, or another dependent adult lives in a nursing home, visiting them regularly is crucial. You should keep in touch as much as possible by seeing them face to face. Scheduling visits is possible if you live close enough to the facility.
Many nursing home residents feel isolated and cut off from the outside world. Isolation is a major contributor to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Although your loved one has a team of people caring for them, they are more likely to remain happy and in a good state of mind if they have frequent visitors.
Keep your eyes and ears open whenever you’re at the nursing home. Look around the property for signs of improper maintenance, patient neglect, and unruly staff. Your responsibility is to advocate for your loved one. If you think the employees don’t provide quality care, you should learn and look for warning signs.
You can visit at different times of the day for multiple perspectives. Pay attention to how the nurses and other staff members treat the residents. Consider whether they’re engaging, friendly, and compassionate. If you see someone mistreating a resident, take note of the incident. If it seems to be a pattern, you can report it.
Communicating with your loved one is vital even if you can’t see them as often as you would like. Various methods of communication are available, such as:
- Video calling – Technology makes it possible to see your loved one even though you’re not right in front of them. Get them a smartphone and have conversations over Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. You can schedule these calls to ensure you have enough time to catch up with them.
- Email – Exchange emails if you can’t video chat. Keeping in touch can solidify your bond and remind them that they have family who cares about them.
- Text – Texting is a great way to stay in contact with your relative daily. Even if you can’t have full-blown conversations, texting them an emoji or telling them you love them each day can benefit their mental health.
- Phone calls – You can also use the “old-fashioned” method of talking on the phone. Whether you call to check in or schedule daily or weekly phone calls, taking time to speak with your loved one can brighten both of your days.
Install a Wireless Camera
Many people find it challenging to trust strangers to care for their family members. You might be able to install a camera in your loved one’s room with their consent. State law allows electronic monitoring in nursing homes under specific circumstances.
If you receive authorization, set up a camera so you can check on your family member whenever you want. You will have peace of mind knowing you can see them anytime and check the footage for any problems with the staff.
Watch for Red Flags
Abuse and neglect are common in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. You should know the signs of abuse and neglect so you can protect your loved one. Not every type of abuse causes visible injuries. Sometimes, the way a person acts can indicate whether they suffered abuse.
Common warning signs of abuse and neglect include:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Newly diagnosed or worsening mental illness
- Acting fearful of a specific person
Know How to Report Abuse
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect, you should know who you can talk to and how to report the incident. If your loved one is in danger, you should remove them from the facility, so they are safe. You might want to avoid legal action initially and report the issue to management or the nursing home owner.
However, they might be more concerned about saving their reputation than taking your complaint seriously. If they don’t seem interested in resolving the problem, you can report what happened to local law enforcement.
You can also reach out to Adult Protective Services. The organization investigates reports of elder abuse and intervenes when necessary.
Contacting an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer is your next step. Your lawyer could represent your loved one in a case against the nursing home and pursue compensation for their injury.
Contact Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC Today
Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC understands the devastation of learning your loved one suffered abuse at the hands of someone you trusted to care for them. You can count on us to advocate for their rights and aggressively fight to hold the employee or facility liable for their misconduct.
If your family member sustained injuries from abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC at 312-346-8620 for a confidential consultation with a dedicated nursing home abuse attorney in Chicago.