Watching your mother succumb to the physical and/or mental deterioration that comes with the natural aging process is not easy. Reaching the decision that your mother can no longer safely care for herself is even more difficult. On the other hand, leaving your mother home alone could result in serious injury. Realizing that should make the decision to look into a nursing home a little bit easier to accept. Once you have made that decision, finding the right facility becomes your priority. To help get you started, a Nashua area elder law attorney at DeBruyckere Law Offices offers tips to help you choose the best nursing home for your mother.
The Unsettling Truth about Elder Abuse
The older population in the United States has grown at a historic rate over the last several decades and is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. The growth in the elder population has caused the issue of elder abuse to also rise to the forefront of the American conscience. For anyone who has a loved one in a nursing home, the fear that their loved one could become the victim of abuse is a very real – and valid – concern. Consider the following facts and figures relating to nursing home abuse:
- As many as 5 million elders are abused each year.
- It is thought that 1 in 10 elders over the age of 60 have been abused.
- One study reported that as many as 24.3% of residents experienced at least one instance of physical abuse while in a nursing home.
- Another study estimates only 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse are formally reported.
- The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study suggests this number is even more severe, with only 1 in 25 cases of abuse reported.
- A study of 2,000 nursing facility residents indicated an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent.
Tips for Picking the Right Nursing Home
The elder abuse statistics are frightening; however, not all long-term care facilities allow abuse to occur. On the contrary, many nursing homes provide competent and compassionate care to the residents. The key to finding one of those facilities is to do your research and ask the right questions when you are choosing a facility. Examples of questions to ask include:
- What is your staff to patient ratio?
- If there a medical doctor on call 24/7?
- What is your procedure if a resident has an abuse or neglect complaint?
- What type of background investigation do you do on new hires?
- What is your staff turnover rate?
- Have you ever been disciplined or fined for a violation of state or federal laws or regulations?
- What social programs and/or activities are available for residents?
- Can I visit my parent anytime I want?
- Do residents have options for meals or is there a set menu for each meal?
- Do you offer transportation services?
In addition to asking question, take the time to do your own research into facilities in your area. A good place to begin that research is with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the agency responsible for licensing and investigation of complaints for nursing homes in New Hampshire. You will also find a list of licensed nursing homes on the agency’s website. Another excellent source of information is the official Medicare.gov website where you will find the Nursing Home Compare tool, a searchable data base full of information on nursing homes across the country. When you are considering a nursing home, try and interview current employees and residents if possible. Along with making an official visit to the facility, show up unannounced as well to see how the facility runs when they are not expecting potential clients. Above all else, trust your gut instinct. If your instincts are telling you that something doesn’t feel right at the facility, it probably isn’t right. On the other hand, if you get a positive and comforting feeling at the nursing home, pay attention to that feeling as well.
Contact a Nashua Area Elder Law Attorney
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns relating to elder abuse or any other elder law issues, contact a Nashua area elder law attorney at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.