Many loved ones are often faced with tough decisions about their elder family members, including whether or not to place them in nursing care facilities. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Florida, one of the added concerns is the safety of their loved ones while they are in a nursing home, in part because they cannot visit them, but also because of new health concerns for this at-risk population.
Asking Nursing Care Facilities, the Right Questions
Now more than ever is the time to check in on your loved one and make sure their nursing homes are following proper protocol, including taking new measures to protect them from exposure to COVID-19. When it comes to nursing homes, you want to make sure that it is the right place to care for your senior parent or grandparent. Proper planning and asking the right questions are critical when it comes to Coronavirus safety.
Here are a few questions to ask your loved one’s nursing care facility:
- What is your quarantine preparedness plan? A COVID-19 outbreak in any facility can lead to staff absences. Prepare alternative options for staffing plans to ensure all residents are well taken care of.
- Am I allowed to visit my loved one in the facility? During this difficult time, socialization is important. If the assisted living facility does not accept visitors, it is a good idea to consider alternative options to stay connected with your loved one. Use social media, video chatting, and phone calls to stay in touch.
- Are staff members or residents being screened and following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations? Unless staff members are living in the facility during this time, the best way to reduce the possible spread of bacteria is by screening and following all CDC procedures. These procedures include sanitizing all public areas, wearing face masks, and wearing gloves appropriately (i.e. switch out gloves and wash your hands in between.)
- How well is the facility reducing the risk of infection? Ask the nursing facility if the staff has been properly trained on how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriately. Some elderly residents might require assistance in basic needs such as showering and eating, so it is extremely important to make sure that all staff is following the procedure necessary to adequately care for your loved one.
- If someone becomes infected, would they be welcomed back after recovery? If someone becomes ill at your loved one’s nursing home, it is important to note whether they would be welcomed back to the facility or not. This is important because if they are welcomed back, this can cause a potential threat to the health and safety of other residents living in the care facility.
- What are my loved one’s care needs and is there a specific nurse that cares for them? Jot down any and all of the information regarding your elderly’s needs. Not only might you be able to send over basics in a care package, but it helps you become aware of what your loved one might be going through. If there is a specific nursing staff that caters to your family member’s needs, take down their name and best method of contact to stay in communication with them.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Loved One is In Danger
Unfortunately, during stressful times, individuals staffed in nursing homes might take advantage of or abuse senior residents. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, here are three signs to look for:
- Changes in behavior. – It is hard for elderly adults to stand up to physical abuse due to personal physical conditions. However, family members might be able to spot signs of behavioral changes via in-person or video chat. For example, if your loved one was once a happy person and their mood has suddenly decreased, it could be a sign of something sinister happening behind the curtains.
- Tension with the Caregiver. – Although it is hard to notice tension without being able to visit nursing care facilities in person, video chatting is another way to spot tension amongst caregivers and residents. For example, if you are video chatting with your loved one and they become quiet as soon as the caregiver comes in or when the caregiver is mentioned, this is also another possible sign of nursing home abuse.
- Physical markings. – Again, if your loved one’s nursing home is not accepting visitors, it can be difficult to spot signs of physical marks. However, if you suspect via video that your loved one has bruising, be sure to let someone know and report it right away.
For more ways on how to spot potential abuse or neglect in nursing homes, please click here.
Nursing home abuse is unfortunately rising and going unnoticed. Roughly 6,600 cases of possible nursing home abuse or neglect were not properly reported in 2016. To report nursing home abuse, contact the following:
- Nursing home administrators.
- Medical experts such as doctors or nurses.
- Local police or law enforcement.
When it comes to our family members, we always want to make sure they are in the best care possible. If you have ever found yourself in an unfortunate situation where your loved one has faced abuse or neglect from a nursing home, you may be able to pursue legal action. Contact Panter, Panter, and Sampedro for more information at (305) 662-6178. We offer free consultations.