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Lexington Nursing Home Abuse – Part I: Choosing the Right Nursing Home

January 04 2019 | Blog
  • Elder abuse and nursing home negligence are troubling yet underreported problems. In these two articles, you’ll learn how you can protect your elderly family members by choosing the right nursing home for them, recognizing the signs of abuse, and taking appropriate legal action to protect them.

     

    Elder abuse is a serious health care problem, one causing considerable physical and emotional pain to individuals and families alike – both in the U.S. and across the world. What makes this issue particularly difficult to address is the fact that the true extent and scope of the abuse is largely unknown. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported. This lack of definite data, in turn, often makes the response to this highly disconcerting phenomenon inadequate or insufficient.

    In the U.S., according to some estimates, elder abuse can affect up to 2 million senior citizens aged 65 or older. It’s particularly saddening when such abuse happens in nursing homes – institutions designed, created, and constructed specifically to protect seniors and care for their needs. Shockingly, a report prepared a few years ago showed that instances of abuse had been discovered in 1 in 3 elder care institutions in the U.S.

    Unfortunately, nursing homes in Kentucky are by no means an exception to this troubling trend. After a recent inspection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that as much as 43% of 284 nursing institutions in Kentucky were rated “below average” or “much below average”. According to the Lexington Herald Leader – one of the state’s chief newspapers – the inspection took under close consideration three main factors: health inspections, staffing, and quality of care measures for residents. It has been discovered that patients in many of Kentucky’s nursing facilities suffered “bedsores, infections, bone-breaking falls, choking, medication errors, untreated pain, and neglect”.

    If your family is not in a position to personally care for the needs of an aging loved one and must rely on a long-term care facility for help, this and the following article have been prepared for you. In this article, we will first analyze what families can do to ensure that they choose a home where their loved ones will be cared for and treated respectfully. In the next article, we will review some of the signs that may indicate that your loved one is suffering from abuse. We will also discuss the legal measures that can be taken to seek compensation for the suffering an elderly person has experienced in a nursing facility.

     

    Choose the Right Nursing Home

    It is true that individual instances of abuse can happen in any institution. However, by taking all necessary precautions when choosing the right facility for your loved one, you can lower the risk of abuse or neglect. Below, you will find some practical considerations for choosing a facility.

    Check the Institution’s Rating

    The website Medicare.gov is a trusted resource that allows you to compare the ratings of different nursing homes near you. You just type in the ZIP code of the area where you live or the name of your town or city in the search bar and you’ll see all the facilities located at a reasonable distance from you. As mentioned above, these facilities have been rated on the basis of health care they offer, staffing situation, and overall quality of life they offer. If you have a particular nursing home in mind already, you can type its name and see what rating it was given. This ranking will no doubt help you to weed out nursing homes with a questionable reputation.

     

    Consider the Location

    Location is another key factor you should take into consideration when choosing the right nursing home. Ideally, you should be looking for a facility that’s relatively close to where you live and easily accessible. By choosing a nearby facility, you’ll ensure that you’ll be able to visit your loved one more often. In addition, you’ll be able to take action more quickly if anything suspicious happens. If your senior requires specialized care that no facility near you is able to provide, it might be beneficial to choose one that’s close to where a trusted family member lives.

     

    Inspect the Place

    An important way to gain valuable insights into the quality of care a nursing home offers is to visit it and personally inspect it. It may be useful to bring a checklist with both your personal criteria – things that are important to you and your loved one – as well as some general guidelines. An example checklist can be found at the Medicare.gov website. This particular list will help you gauge the quality of the living spaces, staffing situation, food, safety and more. If you’re visiting with your elderly one, it is important to be attentive to all the feedback – both verbal and non-verbal – they may be giving you. After all, you want to make sure not only that the place is offering a quality service but also that it is a good match for your family member and that he or she is comfortable there.

    The next article on elder abuse details how to recognize common symptoms of nursing home abuse and negligence and the steps you may take to protect your loved one who may have fallen victim to it.

     

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