Florida nursing home abuse lawyer advises how to spot the warning signs of a troubled nursing home.
As a Florida nursing home abuse lawyer, I often receive calls from people who would like to know how to differentiate the good nursing homes from the bad. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. I do have a few tips, however, on how to spot the warning signs of a troubled nursing home. No matter where your loved one is admitted, it makes good sense to visit and visit often. Change up the timing of your visits so that the nursing home never knows when to expect you. Do not be bashful. Express any issues or concerns that come to your attention to staff. Do not be afraid to take those concerns all the way to the administrator if the response seems lacking.
Most nursing homes offer both short-term rehabilitation and long term care
Most nursing homes in Florida provide two general types of services: short term rehabilitation and long term care. Short term rehab is frequently the first exposure a family ever has to a nursing home. Let’s say that mom is living at home independently but falls and breaks a hip. She is transported to the hospital where she undergoes a successful surgery to repair the broken bone. Her doctor now orders four weeks of rehab. Mom will probably be discharged to an area nursing home. A hospital social worker will likely provide a list of local nursing homes with available beds.
Even those individuals being admitted for short term rehab are at risk in a troubled nursing home. Since most patients admitted to a nursing home directly from a hospital require assistance with many of their activities of daily living, e.g., using the bathroom, walking, dressing, and eating, the availability of sufficient staff is critical toward making sure that their needs are met. In the absence of sufficient nursing home staff, we frequently see residents who suffer a decline in health. How can someone check into the background of a particular nursing home quickly and efficiently?
Online resources helpful in vetting a nursing home
In addition to performing a Google search and reviewing news articles, blog posts, reviews and comments people have posted concerning the nursing home and its corporate operator, one should also consider visiting two government websites to obtain information regarding a particular nursing home’s track record. The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration operates a website known as FloridaHealthFinder.gov. Here is a link: https://tinyurl.com/zze2mzb This website contains information concerning all nursing homes licensed in Florida, including their recent inspection reports.
In addition to the website run by the State of Florida, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) operates a website called “Nursing Home Compare.” Here is a link to Medicare’s nursing home comparison website: https://tinyurl.com/mlgck3h
In addition to investigating a nursing home online, one should also make plans to visit the prospective facility in person. A pre-admission inspection can go a long way toward spotting early warning signs. How does the facility smell? Do residents frequently cry out for help? Does there appear to be enough staff around? Do residents’ needs appear to be met? What is the atmosphere like? Visits at different times of the day can result in differing impressions. What are the attitudes of staff members? If possible, seek out and speak with family members of other residents. They are often able to provide valuable insight as to the quality of care. You may also contact a Florida nursing home abuse lawyer additional tips and recommendations. Just remember: When presented with the admissions paperwork, do NOT agree to “Arbitration.” Cross out that section and do not sign the arbitration clause.
It all comes down to staffing sufficiency in the nursing home
If only one aid is assigned to care for 20 or more residents, you are going to have problems. The aids provide the vast majority of hands-on care in the nursing home. In the absence of sufficient staff, it becomes predictable that some residents will suffer pressure ulcers, falls and injury, malnutrition, dehydration, infection and other harm. The goals of the nursing home corporation may conflict with the goals of the resident and their family. Frequently, nursing homes appear reluctant to send a resident out to the hospital, even after they have suffered a significant change in their condition. Why? The nursing home’s rating is determined, in part, by the number of re-hospitalizations that occur over a given time period.
Warning signs to watch out for in Florida nursing homes
What should family members of nursing home residents be on the lookout for? Look for any changes in your loved one’s mental status, weight, stamina, mood and level of dependence on others. Increases in pain and discomfort should also be monitored. Since you know the resident better than anyone, do not hesitate to bring any such changes to the attention of the nursing staff, director, and physician as soon as possible. A bed sore can develop in a matter of hours. If you believe that the nursing home and its staff are neglecting to respond to your concerns, do not hesitate to arrange for transfer of the resident to a local hospital.
Questions concerning a Florida nursing home? Call Jim for a free, confidential consultation: (844) 485-7600.
I focus my practice on handling cases of nursing home and assisted living facility abuse and neglect. All cases are handled on a contingency fee and cost basis. This means that neither the resident nor their family are required to pay me or my law firm out of their own pocket. My fee and costs are simply deducted from the recovery, if and when a recovery is made. If you have questions or concerns regarding the suspected abuse or neglect of a nursing home resident, please feel free to call Florida nursing home abuse lawyer, Jim Keim at (844) 485-7600.