Top 10 Nursing Home Problems

Nursing home residents have seen improvements in the facilities over the last twenty years, since many of them were not up to par.  But, the concept of “nursing” and “home” is still not exactly portrayed.  Many believe the atmosphere and feeling is not that of a home which is originally what these facilities were designed to be like.  According to Dr. Simon Hamphret, one of the best practices a loved one can do is to show a regular presence.  This not only keeps you up to date on current situations, but also helps the staff build better connections.  Below is a list compiled of the ten largest issues residents and their families face.

1.  Letting the nurses dictate the care

While the ones who specialize in the this field do have the most medical knowledge, family members should have a large say in the care that is being provided.  This includes being active during the care taking plan.  You, as the family member, know the resident better than the staff.  Which means, there will be times when you know what is best and what your loved one would want in that situation.  We see this far too often.  The families leave the entire care decisions up to the administrators.

2.  Medicaid Recipients receive less care

Unfortunately, studies have proven that in many cases individuals who are self pay receive a higher level of care.  If a resident is on Medicaid that does not qualify for reduced care.  Yes, Medicaid does limit the amount of funds these nursing homes receive.  But, the administrative staff has elected to cooperate with Medicaid and therefore should not be bias based on financial situations.

3.  Resident eviction without proper notification

The law specifies there are six reasons a resident of a nursing home can be evicted.  Most of the time it is due to the need for a higher level of care.  This coincides with the first tip, maintain regular communication with staff.  If your loved one is in need of higher care, it is better to properly prepare for this rather than trying to scramble last minute.  Administrators will need to move the resident rather quickly if they feel the need for higher care is there.

4.  No dental care is provided

Dental care is extremely important to senior citizens.  A study done in 2012 found that 46% of nursing homes provide little to no dental care other than the daily routines.  Make sure you are discussing this with your provider prior to selecting the proper home.

5.  failue to provide necessary services

Every facilities is required to keep a detailed log on activities throughout the day.  This includes sleeping, eating, bathing, and every bathroom visit.  If special care is required, such as physical therapy, it will be written in the residents personal log.  Actively viewing the log will also act as a reminder for the staff to not make any short cuts when it comes to care.

6.  Visitation hours are strict

While facilities have visitation hours to help with the routines of residents and their staff, you should be making “unexpected” visits at various times.  Talk with your administrative staff about those visits outside of visiting times.  The law recognizes the right to access by visitors at any time.

7.  Commitment to arbitration

This one was presented to me by my good friend who is a lawyer.  During admission many places will want you to sign a commitment to arbitration shall any issue arise.  But why would you sign into arbitration before anything as even happened?  After twenty-six years experience he has stated, “arbitration is normally never there to benefit the residents.”  Now, every case is different and there are times it is there to help the residents, but do not agree to this during admission.

8.  improper prescription scheduling

Most of the prescriptions that are taken by seniors will label morning, mid-day or evening.  They also express the necessity of taking the meds at the same time each and everyday.  While 8am and 9am are still morning, that does not justify for the same time.  Also, staff may be eligible to provide mood relaxing medications if the resident becomes difficult for any reason.  Keep a close watch on anytime this is given!

9.  Excessive charges

Even though you may not be paying for the bill directly out of pocket, due to Medicaid and Insurance, you need to pay attention to what is being billed.  If there are charges being billed to your insurance company this can cause issues later in the year when premiums are maxed out.

10.  the love is not the same

While we try to provide for our loved ones the best we can when choosing a home, it will never be the same as the home the lived in for many years.  As nursing homes continue to fill due to the aging baby boomers, more and more will have the opportunity to age in place.  This could be the best decision ever made for your loved one!

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