The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or other care facility can be an extremely difficult one. Even if you diligently investigated every nursing home in the state until you were sure you had found the very best one for your loved one’s needs, it’s natural to continue to have concerns about their well-being once they move in. How can you know for sure that they are receiving the very best care day in and day out, when you cannot be there all the time to observe? Read on for tips on verifying the quality of care your loved one is receiving.
First, continue to keep careful track of your loved one’s finances, and thoroughly review all of their medical bills. While people often worry about their loved ones being physically or mentally abused in care centers, financial abuse can be a real concern as well. Make sure to review what has been billed to your loved one’s insurance company. Specifically, you are looking for double-billing or charging for goods and services that were never received by your loved one. Additionally, it is a good idea to have your name added to your loved one’s bank account and credit cards, so you can verify neither are being used without their knowledge.
Next, as long as your loved one is still mentally sound, simply talking to them can be your best source of information regarding how they are being treated. Ask them if they feel safe and respected. Ask them about their interactions with other residents and staff. Inquire how long it takes them to receive help when they push their call button. If your loved one is able to identify a staff member they have particularly connected with, your next step would be to speak with them and get a sense of your loved one’s daily routine. Specifically, you should ask if they have had any changes in sleep habits, what type of diet they are being fed, if they are taking their medications appropriately, if they are getting exercise to the best of their ability, and if they are socializing with the other residents.
Finally, each time you visit the facility, you should try to do so with the same fresh pair of eyes you had when you first visited. Is the care center living up to the standard it set when you first made the decision to place your loved there? Does the environment feel more like a home than a hospital? Check around to see if you notice any broken equipment, safety hazards, lingering odors, or patients that appear to be poorly tended to. Ask yourself if you would still place your loved one in this facility if you could go back and start over; the answer should always be yes.
Be sure to visit as often as possible on different days and at different times so you can get the best sense of daily life for your loved one and get to know as many of the staff as possible. Verify the staff has the best phone number to reach you if they ever have any questions.