Based on 2 16 data released by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, there were 28,900 residential care facilities, 15, 600 nursing homes, 12,200 home health agencies, and 4,300 hospices, as well as 4,600 adult day services centers across the country.
Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that by the end of 2016, there were 1.7 million beds scattered all over the licensed nursing homes all over the US.
These facilities almost exclusively cater to old-age adults or seniors who need constant daily living assistance and basic healthcare services. Some residents are there only for a brief period, usually to recuperate following a medical operation, while others are admitted practically for the duration of their twilight years.
If you have a parent admitted to one of these nursing homes, you are duty-bound not to simply have them admitted, but to also check on their condition periodically. This, as there were a few nursing homes that fail in their duty of care and neglect their patients’ medical needs, which leads to patients’ relatives calling in reputable medical malpractice lawyers to file a court case on their behalf.
This is not to say, though, that the current nursing facility where your parent is staying will neglect its legal and ethical obligations to properly care for your parent. However, it’s better to err on the side of caution and simply find ways to look after your parent and protect them while they’re inside the nursing home.
Here are four ways that you should explore to care for your parent without taking too much of your time:
Visit periodically without a definite pattern
Your obligation to your parent continues well beyond having your parent admitted to the nursing home. This entails periodically paying a visit to see how your parent is being taken care of and to let them know that you’re there for them physically and not just in spirit.
If possible, don’t establish a pattern with your time and frequency of visits. Instead, try to be unpredictable by varying the time of day and week when you’re dropping by to check up on your parent. This will allow you to see what your parent is doing in different time schedules and how he or she is cared for by the nursing home staff.
It’s important to be observant of your parent’s body language to see subtle signs of distress or fear. You should also observe your parent’s body and overall hygiene state to see if he or she is being taken care of or if there are signs of abuse.
Additionally, don’t forget to observe how nursing home personnel address the residents. They should call the latter by their names or by addressing them as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” when talking to them. Also, observe if the area where the residents’ beds are located constantly smells bad; if it does, then it could be a sign that hygiene and cleanliness are not among the nursing home’s priorities.
Maintain constant communication with your parent
If there are times when you can’t possibly visit your parent due to urgent and important personal and business matters, you should nonetheless find time to communicate with them over the phone.
You can opt to make frequent calls to your parent through the nursing home manager or invest in a smartphone designed for seniors and teach your parent how to use it, so you can check up on him or her whenever you feel like it. This will help you stay on top of your parent’s situation and make sure that he or she is being properly looked after and treated by the hospital staff.
Let your parent know that he or she can tell you if there’s maltreatment going on
Some residents in nursing homes and similar care facilities fear retribution, so they opt to keep mum even if they’re being abused by the personnel. As such, be sure to communicate with your parent that he or she can confide in you any form of abuse being done by nursing home staff to any of the residents, including your parent.
If you found out through your parent that abuse is indeed happening inside the facility, you should immediately contact the police and transfer your parent somewhere safe. Keep in mind that time is critical in such a situation, so you should act swiftly if abuse is clear.
Caring for your parent and ensuring his or her safety while inside a nursing home don’t need to be hard or complicated. With these tips, you can protect and look after your parent easily and effectively.