How to Vet a Nursing Home for an Elderly Loved One

As a leading elderly abuse attorney team in Southern California, we’ve helped numerous clients find justice for their abused and neglected loved ones. If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home, contact us online to explore your legal options.

Every person deserves to live out their golden years in comfort and dignity. Unfortunately, that’s not always what they get—especially in nursing homes. 

Nursing home in CaliforniaAlthough some nursing homes offer a safe haven for vulnerable elders, others are centers for abuse and neglect. Choosing the right nursing home for your loved one can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate it alone.

As an experienced elder abuse lawyer team serving Southern California, we know how to choose a top-quality facility and, perhaps more importantly, spot the warning signs of a subpar, potentially dangerous nursing home. This article will provide our tips for vetting a nursing home in California and explain when it’s time to get an attorney involved.

When it comes to your elderly family member’s quality of life, you can’t take any chances. If you suspect they’re being abused or neglected, it’s critical to sound the alarm. Contact Case Barnett Law to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate Orange County personal injury attorney today.

What Are the Different Types of Senior Living Communities?

Although each caters to senior living, nursing homes, retirement communities, and assisted living homes are very different—in both the level of care they provide and the freedom they allow their residents. Before researching nursing homes, consider whether a nursing facility is the most appropriate choice.

Here’s how the main types of senior living facilities differ in their level of care: 

  • Retirement communities. Retirement communities offer residents more independence than assisted living and nursing home facilities. Seniors in retirement communities typically have their own houses and apartments, access to a few amenities (such as laundry or cleaning services), and limited medical care. They are ideal for individuals who are still capable of caring for themselves but would benefit from extra community support. 
  • Assisted living facilities. Assisted living situations are a good choice for seniors who struggle to keep up with their daily tasks but are still somewhat healthy and active. Rather than a neighborhood of individual houses, assisted living facilities typically offer something closer to hotel living, where seniors have their own quarters but aren’t responsible for the upkeep. Many assisted living homes provide residents with 24-hour access to staff for emergencies, as well as communal dining and shuttle services.
  • Nursing homes. Nursing homes are the most hospital-like facilities compared to assisted living facilities and retirement homes. They are ideal for individuals who are unable to care for themselves and have health conditions that require around-the-clock access to properly trained medical staff. Many nursing homes cater to the specific health needs of their residents, offering services like memory care, physical therapy, and more.

Determining the appropriate level of care for your loved one is the first step to ensuring they enjoy a safe and happy transition to their new environment. Nursing home residents are typically much more dependent on staff than residents of other types of facilities, which is why they’re so vulnerable to abuse. 

Who Regulates Senior Living Facilities in California?

The California Department of Public Health must license any nursing home you’re considering, as this licensing ensures the facility meets certain standards. Ensuring this licensing is the bare minimum and should never be overlooked. It must also be certified for Medicare and Medicaid if you plan on using those for payment. 

Doing due diligence also means reviewing a nursing home’s inspection reports, which can be found on the California Department of Public Health’s website. These reports contain critically important information, including insights about the quality of care the facility provides and the overall safety and cleanliness of the facility.

Consider Location, Amenities, and Staffing Levels

When considering location, remember this: Many nursing home residents look forward to visitors from their friends and family. Selecting a nursing home that is far away from everyone your loved one knows will greatly limit the number of people they see. It may contribute to feelings of isolation and abandonment. 

Another important consideration is the amenities offered by a particular nursing home. Just like a cheap motel provides very few comforts compared to a luxury hotel, nursing home facilities offer a range of comforts to their residents. If you can’t find the information online, contact a nursing home directly to request a comprehensive list of amenities and activities. 

Although less of an amenity and more of a safety standard, you should also verify the staff-to-resident ratio of any home you’re seriously considering. A large staff with a low turnover rate often indicates a high-functioning, safe facility. You’ll also want to research a nursing home’s food and nutrition to ensure they serve high-quality foods, offer various meal options, and accommodate dietary restrictions.

Tour the Facility, Ask Around, and Follow Your Instincts

Speaking with a facility representative over the phone and researching it online aren’t enough—you need to visit a nursing home in person before sending your loved one there. Online descriptions can be misleading, and staff are sometimes purposely vague to hide shortcomings. Touring a nursing home in person can give you critical information about how residents are treated and cared for. 

It’s also a good idea to ask about others’ experiences. Seek recommendations from people who have loved ones in a nursing home and read various online reviews. Do anything to get a complete picture of the nursing home and whether it’s the right place for your elderly family member. Perhaps most importantly, follow your instincts. If something seems out of place or off, if the residents seem largely unhappy, take that into consideration.

When to Hire an Elderly Abuse Lawyer

After you’ve selected a nursing home and gotten your loved one settled in, engage in continuous monitoring, especially for the first few months. If you see anything that concerns you, investigate. Poor hygiene, weight loss, injuries such as scratches and bruises, complaints of discomfort, and depression are often warning signs of neglect, mistreatment, and even abuse.

Lastly, if you do suspect your elderly loved one is being mistreated, don’t let your fears fall by the wayside. An experienced attorney can help investigate the situation, determine if abuse or neglect is occurring, take legal action, and help you receive compensation.

Concerned about elder abuse? We’re here to help. Contact Case Barnett Law online to schedule a free case evaluation, or call us at (949) 409-0055.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
Post A Comment