You may be surprised to learn that there are more one star assisted living facilities and nursing homes in South Carolina than there are five star facilities. When you’re searching for a place to provide care for someone you love and are unable to care for on your own, you try to look for the right environment, the right caretakers, and then you hope for the best. Unfortunately, the best is not always what these facilities provide. The good news is that there are steps that you can take to ensure that your loved one does get the best care, and there are steps that you can take should you discover that they are not.
What Can You Do To Prevent Nursing Home and Assisted Living Injuries?
The most important thing that you can do to prevent personal injuries from occurring in a nursing home or assisted living facility is to thoroughly research several facilities before you choose one, then follow up with frequent visits to your loved one to ensure that he or she is receiving the best care. You don’t want to choose a facility based on good advertising or your first impression when you visit. You need to really do some research. Look them up online, not just their own website, and find reviews and ratings. If you find complaints, pay attention to the nature and frequency of those complaints.
In this way, you can narrow the possibilities down to a small list for further comparison. Many people make the mistake of comparing prices first. The place to start your comparison is with the quality of care and the quality of life that your loved one will have. Only then can you compare facilities based on other factors, like price and location. Once you have a small list, go visit the places. You shouldn’t assume that a good first impression is a definite indicator of a good facility, but if you go into it with your research completed, then you may be able to rely more on that first impression at your initial visit.
Once you have chosen a facility and your loved one has been moved into it to receive care, your job is not done. You must continue to ensure that your loved one is well cared for by visiting frequently. This is not just for the emotional and social health of your loved one (though that is equally important); it is also to ensure that nobody is neglecting or harming them, and to take action if you see such signs and symptoms of neglect, abuse, or accidental injury. You are your loved one’s best advocate.
What Should You Be Looking For When You Visit Your Loved One?
Visiting your loved one frequently is one of the most important things you can do when they’ve been placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility. This will help them emotionally and mentally as much as it will help them physically. You’ll want to do this to ensure that your loved one does not become depressed or lonely, to start with; and you’ll also want to look for any indications of neglect, abuse, or injury. Yet, you must know what to look for if you’re going to notice what many don’t.
Some examples of things to look for include bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition, infections, broken bones, and psychological concerns. Naturally, these are not all things that you’ll be able to notice in a brief visit if you are not looking for the signs. It is important to talk to your loved one, if he or she is communicative, and listen to what they have to say. If they tell you that they are unhappy, take this seriously, and consider moving them to a different facility. In cases where the person might not be as communicative, you can still pay attention to changes in their mood or behavior.
Beyond this, you can check them for things like bed sores and infections. Bed sores are extremely painful and mostly preventable by the caregivers. If you notice bed sores, especially untreated wounds, then your loved one is likely being neglected. If you notice that your loved one has symptoms of a severe infection, like a high fever or symptoms in the infected area, then you need to discuss what’s being done for the infection, and consider carefully whether your loved one is being properly cared for.
Another common problem in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is dehydration and/or malnutrition. This occurs when the person is not being properly attended and cared for, so that they are not getting their most basic needs met. Some symptoms of this that you might notice, beyond what your loved one tells you (as many people are not able to adequately communicate their needs, making them that much more vulnerable to neglect) include more weakness than usual, distress, poor skin elasticity, unexplained weight loss, pale skin, dry skin, etc. Pay attention to any unexplained changes in the health and wellness of your loved one. Offer them food or drink and pay attention to how they respond to this. You may notice that they are unusually thirsty or hungry, and this might be your first indication that something is wrong and they are not being cared for appropriately.
When it comes to noticing injuries, like broken bones from falling down, you’ll want to get as much information as possible. While there are cases where falls are not preventable, most of them are. Your loved one should be supervised and kept safe from anything that might cause them to fall down. If your loved one has fallen and been injured, ask about what happened, who responded and how quickly, and how they intend to prevent this event from occurring again. If you are not satisfied with the answers, or if similar incidents occur in the future, then it is time to take action.
Another important thing to pay attention to when visiting your loved one is changes in their emotional and psychological health. If your loved one seems unusually fearful, depressed, or in any way distressed, then you need to take heed of these changes and do something about it. Your loved one might not be able to tell you how they are being abused or neglected, so it is up to you to see the signs.
How Can You Take Action After a Personal Injury Occurs in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility?
Once you’ve discovered that your loved one has suffered personal injuries in a South Carolina nursing home or assisted living facility, you need to take action. This may include removing your loved one from the given facility, taking them to a better place, and contacting a determined South Carolina personal injury attorney. Call The Jeffcoat Firm to schedule a free consultation and learn more.