We rely on the Internet now more than ever. In fact, most people won’t go to a nail salon or try a new restaurant without checking the reviews first! But online opinions might not always be 100% accurate, especially for a product or facility that requires time to discover what it’s truly like. Nursing homes fall into this category. In addition, many places encourage their own employees to post anonymous reviews on Yelp or Google, so how can you discover the truth?
Doing Your Research
Choosing to enroll your elderly loved one in an assisted living facility is one of the toughest things you’ll ever have to do. And while online reviews are a great place to start, some other facts can be learned digitally. New York State’s Department of Health has a website where you can look up nursing home profiles. You can compare average costs by region, and other long-term care options as well. The Department of health compares nursing homes by:
- How residents are cared for
- What residents’ quality of life is
- How safe the facility is
- What kind of preventative care practices the facility offers
- The results of State inspections
- Any complaints that have been filed against the facility
Beyond this, we recommend dropping by each potential nursing home at different times and studying the layout, the rooms, the staff’s attitudes, and how healthy and alert the other residents appear. Are there enough caregivers to pay attention to every resident’s needs? Is there a medical provider on the premises? What is the nursing home’s policy on responding to an emergency? How will the family be notified? These are all important details to discuss before making a final choice.
Watching for Signs of Abuse
Not all mistreatment comes in the form of physical abuse. Emotional abuse and neglect can be just as harmful to a senior, and often take years off their life. Does your loved one seem exhausted all the time? Are they always in bed, and starting to develop bedsores? Are there changes in behavior that can’t be explained by the progression of old age? Do they react strangely when certain nursing home staff are around? Mood shifts are often a telltale sign that something is wrong.
What can you do if you suspect your loved one is being mistreated? Being suspicious isn’t the same thing as being sure. Stop and review the facts, and speak to a professional if you need guidance. Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP has personal injury attorneys who are familiar with New York’s regulations on nursing homes. We can advise you whether you have a case, and you can contact Adult Protective Services and local law enforcement to begin an investigation. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and having a legal advocate on your family’s side can make a big difference. Call 929-223-4195 or contact us online as soon as possible.