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Aging Parents: What Families Should Know When Considering Nursing Care

One of the hardest decisions families may need to make is the placement of aging relatives who need 24-hour care into a nursing facility. One of the major things that differentiate nursing home choices from senior living and assisted living environments are the cognitive skills of the person being placed. Nursing homes provide more of a hospital-like environment to care for anyone whose ability to provide for their own daily needs has diminished to the point where round-the-clock monitoring and services must be provided for the person’s safety and well-being. Here are things you should consider before placing a loved one into nursing care.

Proper Placement

Typically, nursing home residents have advanced stages of cognitive and physical decline that interferes with things such as feeding, personal care, communication and safety in the environment. Senior living environments are for those who can still provide for their own daily care but need a secure place to live that is easier to take care of and provides social opportunities. Assisted living facilities help with things such as meals, housekeeping and making sure medications are taken on time. Though a nurse may visit, there is not likely one on staff around the clock as there would be in a nursing home.

Investigate the Facility

Nursing homes are licensed by the state where they are in operation. Licensed facilities can have their inspection records examined for violations. Expect to see some deficiencies and the occasional violation at every facility as rarely does any place have a perfect record. This includes every licensed facility from restaurants to hospitals as well. You should look for repeated deficiencies and violations that show up over and over again when a facility is inspected. Serious violations should really give you pause when considering a nursing home to place an aging loved one.

Nursing Home Neglect

Neglect is a form of abuse when it comes to nursing home residents. In an article at the Nursing Home Abuse Center website, Dr. Christine Traxler reported that up to 95 percent of nursing home residents have reported some form of neglect. No matter the apparent quality of the facility you place your loved one, you should continually be on the lookout for signs of neglect. Some of the signs of nursing home neglect include abnormal behavioral changes not associated with the loved ones medications or chronic health condition, poor hygiene, dehydration, weight loss, falls, fractures, bruising, unexplained emotional outbursts, evidence of fear of or aggression toward certain staff or other residents, and more. Professionals, like those at Bennett & Sharp PLLC, know that if you have any concerns of elder abuse or neglect, they need to be immediately investigated. Most facilities should have protocols in place to make this happen. However, do not be afraid to contact a lawyer or involve law enforcement as necessary.

You Get What You Pay For

Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle to overcome when placing a relative in a nursing home is the cost. Many who require nursing home care do not have an adequate income or insurance coverage to pay for ongoing care at a better facility. If you have to place a loved one into nursing home care, you should immediately enlist the help of an experienced social worker to secure the most funding available. Nursing home care costs thousands of dollar per month, easily approaching $100,000 per year at some facilities. If the money is not there, then families are put into a difficult position of placing a relative in a home that may be underfunded and understaffed.

The decision to place loved ones into a nursing facility is not easy. However, it is the right thing to do when they can no longer safely care for themselves. Most nursing homes do a great job and provide an extremely needed service to the community. However, it is important to be aware of potential issues and also know what to look out for when you do decide that skilled nursing care is needed.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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