Making the decision to place a family member in a nursing home can be one of the toughest decisions you make in your lifetime. For many individuals, moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home means giving up their independence and privacy. It is an emotional process for you and your loved one.
However, there may come a time when your family member requires 24/7 care or a level of care you are unable to provide. If this is the situation you are struggling with, the first step is to begin investigating potential facilities to find the one that meets the needs of your loved one.
Choosing the Right Nursing Home or Assisted Care Facility
One of the major concerns for families is that their loved one will be the victim of elder abuse or neglect. In addition to checking the facility’s record for complaints and contacting references, you need to verify that all employees are subject to a thorough background check before being hired.
Take a morning or an afternoon to spend at the nursing home to watch how patients are treated and how the staff interacts with residents. Join the residents for a meal to watch how staff assist residents in need with feeding issues. How does the food smell? Does it appear appealing?
During your visit, listen to how the staff talks to patients but especially listen to how staff members talk about patients. Watch how residents pass their time — do they sit alone in their rooms or are they urged to socialize in the common areas. Look through some of the rooms, common areas, bathrooms, and other areas. Are they clean? How do they smell?
You may need to visit the facility more than once to get a thorough idea of how patients are treated and how the facility is operated. Even more important, when you choose a place for your loved one, you should visit as often as possible and at various times to observe how he or she is being treated. Each time you visit, you need to look for signs of elder abuse and neglect. Vigilance is one of your best tools to prevent or identify neglect and elder abuse.
Know the Signs of Elder Abuse
Sometimes our loved ones are unable to tell us they are being neglected or abused. Therefore, you must pay care attention to even slight changes or subtle signs that your loved one is the victim of elder abuse. Things to watch out for include:
- Unexplained bruises, fractures, and broken bones
- Bedsores (pressure ulcers), cuts, or lacerations
- Changes in weight such as rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Fear of being left alone with staff members
- Withdrawal, emotional changes, or depression
- Begging not to be left alone
- Sexually transmitted diseases, sores around genitals, or constant urinary tract infections
- Missing money or personal property
- Unwillingness to speak in front of staff members
It is best to err on the side of caution. If you believe you see signs of elder abuse, you need to report the abuse immediately. In some cases, you may need to contact authorities if your loved one is in immediate threat of harm. You can also contact an Ontario elder abuse lawyer to discuss your options for protecting your loved one.
Call an Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
The team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have experience handling personal injury cases involving elder abuse. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations.