Elder Law: Nursing Home Red Flags

While unfortunate, it is common that many elderly individuals will go into assisted living facilities, or have some form of in-home care as they get older. However, it is vital that family members and loved ones thoroughly research and monitor their loved ones as they enter assisted living to ensure that they are getting the proper care. Unsafe or negligent care by administrators and healthcare professionals can cause severe mental and physical repercussions to your loved one, at a time where they are weakened and may not be able to defend themselves or communicate. Here, Maryland elder law attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein discusses nursing home red flags to look out for, as well as how to seek legal assistance if you or your loved one has suffered at the hands of nursing home staff.  

Lack of Choice & Visiting Hours Can Be Concerning

When your loved one goes into a nursing facility, the transition can be extremely difficult. They have likely become used to their daily routines at home, and moving to a new space with new people can be overwhelming. While it is normal that it will take them time to acclimate to their new living situation, it is important that you and your family are able to help your loved one through this time. Common nursing home red flags include a lack of choice for residents, as well as lack of visiting hours. Every resident is different, and if their nursing home has little to no choice in feeding, activity time or socialization, you may want to take a closer look. Additionally, it is important that their nursing home be transparent and welcoming when it comes to visitors, while prioritizing safety during this time of the novel coronavirus. If your loved one’s nursing home seems hesitant or aggressive when you request to visit, this could be a sign that they are not complying with adequate nursing care standards. Your loved one may not be able to speak up for themselves, which is why keeping a close eye on any behavior that you consider strange can help make sure your loved one is safe. 

Watch for Early Signs of Abuse or Absent Staff & Administrators

Sadly, close to 1 in 10 Americans ages 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse in their lifetime. While many tend to categorize abuse as physical, there are many other ways in which your loved one could be in danger or harmed at their nursing home facility. In addition to physical abuse, your loved ones run the risk of suffering from psychological and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. Being able to spot the signs of a potentially neglectful or harmful nursing care facility is vital in catching early signs of abuse, and seeking help proactively. Some signs that may point to a negligent nursing care facility include disrespectful or absent staff and administrators. As your loved one gets older, they may suffer from physical and mental decline, unable to care for themselves. If they are not watched or interacted with on a daily basis, their condition could worsen and they may put themselves or others at risk. Additionally, disrespectful staff members can be an early warning sign. If staff members ignore the requests of residents or respond aggressively or inappropriately, your loved one may be suffering from emotional abuse. 

Misaligned Values May Cause Trouble During End of Life Care

Finally, a nursing home red flag that is often overlooked is misaligned values between the nursing care facility, the family and the resident. While a nursing home is meant to keep your loved one comfortable and safe, they are likely there because they are declining mentally or physically, and will eventually reach the end of life care. When that time comes, it is important that you and your family have a trusting relationship with the nursing staff to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out. If your loved one’s nursing home has different values or seems to not take your loved one’s medical directives seriously, consider seeking professional help. If you end up in a situation in which your loved one needs immediate care or has a specific medical directive, it can be heartbreaking and extremely concerning to know that their nursing home did not follow you or your loved one’s wishes. 

Seek Help & Representation With Maryland Elder Law Attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein 

One of the most difficult times in your life is when you and your family have to make a decision about your loved one’s elder care. Picking a place that is both safe and affordable can be challenging, and although a facility may look good on the surface, it is important to continuously check in on your loved one’s health. If your family or your loved one requires nursing home planning that you have an advocate with elder law attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein.  

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