If you’re going to place an older relative in a nursing home, you want to be sure it’s a good one. To find that out, you’ll have to do a little research.
One way to do that is to read up on each facility you’re considering. You can go online and check out their website, and you can try to find as much feedback about it as you can from families that have placed individuals there.
You can also tour the facility, along with the relative who is going to live there. You can see for yourself what conditions are like for the residents.
While the facility’s appearance matters, you also need to find out as much as you can about the staff. They’re the ones with whom your family member will interact every day when they become a resident.
There are a few potential staff issues that might make your reconsider a particular facility. Let’s look at some of those right now.
There Aren’t Enough Staff Members to Care for the Residents
No formula says there should be a particular staff member amount for every certain number of nursing home residents. However, there need to be enough staff members to see to all the residents’ needs. That’s because:
- They need to provide the residents with their medication
- They must prepare all the meals
- They must help bathe, dress, and undress some residents
While some residents can bathe and dress themselves, clean their rooms, etc., others can’t easily do so because they’re no longer lucid or have physical ailments. Some nursing homes are short-staffed, and you don’t want to put your older family member in one of those.
They won’t get the attention they need. If the staff neglect them because the home overworks them, it amounts to the same thing as if you left your family member living independently.
There Are Abuse Allegations
Elder abuse is something about which many people don’t like to think. They don’t want to believe that such a thing happens, even though it does far too often. Elder abuse might include:
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
A staff member might withhold medication, food, clothing, or blankets. They may berate the nursing home residents. They might poke or pinch them.
You’d hope that nothing like that happens at the facility where you’re putting your older relative. You know the staff members will probably be on their best behavior when you’re visiting the home.
That’s why you need to see if any staff members have current or pending charges that families or residents are bringing against them. If you see that a staff member has prior accusations or their background is suspicious, you might decide to look at other options. It’s up to you to keep your older family member safe.
You also might run into a situation where the nursing home staff don’t seem to know what they’re doing. They do need to have some training and experience, or else they won’t know how to do things like administer medication or interact with the older adults for whom they care.
You can look into staff member backgrounds, and you can also talk to the staff when you visit the facility for the first time. Speak to whoever is in charge and assess whether the people who will be taking care of your older relative have the qualifications to do that.
If the staff seems clueless and unqualified, that might be another reason to look at other nursing home options.
Current Residents Don’t Like Them
You also might speak to some of the current residents before you move your elderly relative in with them. You can ask them what they think of the place and the staff members who care for them.
As you talk to them, you can assess their physical conditions. You don’t need to be too obvious about it, but you can often detect neglect and abuse signs.
If the current residents seem happy, that’s a strong sign this facility might work for your relative. If they seem ill-at-ease, you might read between the lines and understand that the staff does not have the right qualifications.
They might not be doing anything malicious. They might simply be inattentive or overworked.
State-Required Training Compliance
With nursing homes, as you’re looking into the staff members, you should know that some states require that such members complete yearly training programs. For instance, this is true in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
You can speak to the staff directly and make sure they’re completing those training classes. You can also ask them whether they have CPR training or a medical background.
You can ask them about where the nearest hospitals are if one of the residents falls or gets ill suddenly. You might ask about call buttons in each room if a resident gets sick during the night. You can find out if any staff members patrol the building at night, checking on the older or feebler residents.
In 2020, another possible nursing home staff issue has come to the forefront: Covid-19 concerns. Most nursing home staff members understand how serious this pandemic is. They know that they have to wear masks, practice social distancing where it’s possible to do so, and use hand sanitizer.
If you have nursing home staff members that aren’t taking all of this as seriously as they should, you don’t want your older relative staying at that facility. Older individuals die more from the coronavirus. You need to figure out whether the facility at which you’re looking is taking the proper precautions if you’re going to have a family member live there.
You must do your due diligence as much as possible before you place your older relative in one of these nursing homes. There are many ways to approach your research, but the more you learn about the staff members, the more confident you should feel that you’re making the right choice.