Our law firm hears many heartbreaking stories from our clients about nursing home neglect. While we have successfully navigated complaints of neglect on behalf of our clients and have been fierce advocates for the support of their loved ones in managed care, we think the best way to help prevent any challenges to exemplary care, is to be a proactive and engaged family member. While there is no way to 100% mitigate possible neglect which may arise at a nursing facility, there are things you and your family can do to lessen the chances of harm to your loved one. Of course achieving the highest quality of care begins with you, and your efforts to find the right home for your loved one based on you budget. Do your research and when possible, get recommendations from friends, neighbors and health care professionals. There are many resources online which can aid you in this process. The state of MA has a website which is a great place to start your search, and help you understand your options. https://www.mass.gov/guides/choosing-a-nursing-home
In future articles, we will delve more into the selection process, but for now, we want to address how to ensure the best level of care once your family member is already in their new home. The most important thing to do is to be proactive and engaged in communication with the nursing facility staff. Attend regular meetings to discuss your family member’s care plan, medical needs, and preferences. By forging a strong bond with the care team, you can be certain that at least your family's concerns and expectations are heard and understood. Schedule periodic face-to-face meetings with the nursing home staff. This allows for a personal connection, fosters trust, and provides an opportunity to discuss your loved one's care plan, any concerns, and their overall progress.
Ensure that you are regularly updated on any changes to your loved one's care plan. This includes medication management, dietary requirements, exercise routines, and any specific activities or therapies they are participating in.
If possible, ask to have a dedicated care coordinator assigned to your family who will act as a primary point of contact for you. They will be responsible for answering your questions, addressing concerns, and providing regular updates on your loved one's health, well-being, and activities.
Request access to relevant documentation, such as medical reports, care notes, and incident reports. Transparent documentation allows you to stay informed about your loved one's condition, and track any changes or challenges they may be facing.
Try whenever possible, to participate in family involvement programs that offer opportunities to take part in resident activities, support groups, and educational sessions. These programs provide insight into the daily life of your loved one, enable you to connect with other families, and promote a collaborative approach to care.
Participate in satisfaction surveys regularly. Your feedback is invaluable in helping the home to identify areas of needed improvement and ensure that they are meeting your expectations and the needs of your family member.
Hopefully these suggestions will help foster a strong partnership between the nursing home staff and you, and help work towards providing the best care possible for your loved one while keeping you informed and reassured of their well-being. If your loved one is currently experience a lack of care in a nursing facility and has been injured, please give us a call immediately to see if we can be of service.