Placing your loved one in a nursing home may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make, and for good reason. We have all heard the horror stories about abuse and neglect in nursing homes. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 1 in 10 elders age 60 and over across the US have experienced abuse.
When the worst happens, it may come unexpectedly. You may have thought you were placing your loved one in a quality nursing home only to find out that abuse and neglect went under the radar. There are some ways you can help protect your loved ones from abuse and neglect.
Local quality of care
First off, it's good to know where your state ranks in terms of quality of care. According to the Alabama Nursing Home Association, the quality of nursing homes in our state has improved since 2008. In 2013, approximately 61.7 percent of Alabama nursing homes received 4- or 5-star rankings in the CMS Five-Start Quality Rating System. This put our state's nursing homes ahead of the national average. What about the nursing homes that didn't make the cut?
When searching for a nursing home in Alabama, it's important to first check the reviews and look for any prior complaints against a facility. You can also check a nursing home's rating on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures at Medicare.gov.
On a national scale
Care.com cites a study conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees nursing homes across the US. In terms of how much moderate to severe pain residents experienced, Alabama ranks well in comparison to the rest of the nation. Only 11.9 percent of short-term residents and 5.1 percent of long-term residents experienced acute pain.
On a national scale, the study also measured the quality of nursing homes by deficiencies found in health inspections and the amount of time staff spent with patients.
Patients typically receive about four hours of nursing care each day from registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). RNs were expected to spend 45 minutes with a patient, but on average, only 40 minutes was reported per day. LPNs, on the other hand, were only expected to spend 23 minutes with patients, but an average of 53 minutes was reported.
The study rated each state for quality on a scale of 1-5 based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Alabama wasn't listed among the top 10 best or worst states.
Protecting your loved one
More than 71 percent of families have described sending their loved one to a nursing home as difficult. It is important to understand that by making such a commitment, your loved one is in a place where he or she can receive 24/7 care. It's also advisable to spend as much time as possible with your loved one. Not only is it beneficial to their overall health --you may be able to identify clues of abuse or neglect.
If you notice anything unusual, take it seriously and report it immediately. You can do so by visiting the Alabama Department of Human Resources and making a report in the county the facility is located in. Whether or not abuse or neglect has occurred, an investigation into the facility and its staff will tell the real story.
An experienced attorney at Shuttlesworth Law Firm LLC can help bring justice to your family and loved one. Contact us today to discuss your matter and explore your legal options.