When the time came for more care than you could provide to your elderly mother, she preferred to move to a nursing home that was close to the area of town she knew and loved. You toured the facility and felt satisfied it would cover all her needs.
The building looked clean and tidy, and the staff seemed capable and friendly. But after your mom moved in, you began to have concerns about her safety and security. Did you miss the signs? Are you imagining things or is there a pattern of health risks and lackadaisical care?
You would think that safety would be top of mind in a nursing home. Their sole mission is caring for vulnerable adults. But your mother reports that infection control is an issue. She has seen residents abusing each other in the common area, with no intervention by staff. When the floors are mopped, no caution cones are put out to warn that an area may be slippery, and your mom has almost fallen as a result.
Security seems to be on the thin side at the nursing home. Some of the residents say that their personal belongings have gone missing, but staff members say the complainers have simply forgotten where they put things. Recently, a patient with dementia wandered off and got all the way outside the building before being discovered because the alarm on the door did not work. Another patient slipped away inside the building and staff could not locate him for over an hour. Anyone could walk right in. Are the security cameras even working?
Dubious disaster plan
Although the written disaster plan calls for regular drills for staff and residents on a regular basis, no drill has been conducted in the six months that your mother has lived at the facility. The safety of the residents should be a priority, yet no one has discussed a care plan with you or your mother in the event of a natural disaster such as a tornado or hurricane.
Make your concerns known
Perhaps you mentioned your concerns to the nursing home staff but were politely stonewalled. If nothing changes or you get no response, you should document your concerns and submit your complaints in writing to the manager of the facility or up the corporate chain. Visit often and follow up on the issues you have called attention to.
If your loved one suffers harm (falling injury, medical neglect, physical abuse) because of nursing home negligence, a personal injury attorney can explore appropriate legal action. The medical records, inspection records and your own documented lapses in safety, security and quality of care will help to hold the nursing home accountable. In addition to your loved one being compensated, the management will be forced to address the shortcomings and make improvements.