Q My father has been put into a nursing home after surgery. How can I be sure he is well cared for?
The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is difficult. Although you may want your dad to be at home during his recovery from surgery, it is not always possible to have the resources, in terms of time, money, or medical knowledge, to meet his needs. While he is at the nursing home, here are some things to keep in mind to make him - and you - as comfortable as possible.
Be Involved in Care Planning
Many facilities invite family members to participate in care planning not long after the admission. Once you dad has been evaluated, a care plan is created outlining the specific health and safety concerns that are raised by his condition. Attend the care planning meetings, if offered, and be sure you understand attention to the processes put in place to keep him safe:
- devices to assist with walking
- bed alarms
- chair alarms
- call bells
- fall mats
- other precautions (sometimes called “interventions”) that are available to prevent an accident from occurring or other potential harm to your father
Visit the Facility
Knowing what is in the care plan means that you then know what to look for when you visit. Visit as frequently as possible, not just for the emotional support that it provides your father during his recovery, but to ensure that his needs are met. Mistakes happen and the precautions set out in the care plan can get overlooked, and your frequent presence may prevent mistakes.
Even though you may not be able to provide the care yourself, you can understand what is supposed to be done to protect your father and then check on whether it is actually being done.
IMPORTANT: Do not always show up on the same days or times. The best time to evaluate the care your father is receiving at times that the staff are not expecting you.
If you see anything during these visits that causes you conern, say something and then be sure to follow up on whether the issue has been resolved.
If speaking to the nursing assistants does not resolve the issue, speak to nurses.
If nurses do not give you a satisfactory response go to the Director of Nursing.
If you’re still not satisfied, speak to the Nursing Home Administrator. Keep track of who you speak with and what they told you would be done.
If you experience multiple problems it might be a good idea to keep a journal. Your father is depending on you to look out for him and, perhaps, speak for him. This especially true in those instances when they are impaired to such an extent that they are incapable of understanding or communicating effectively about their condition and the care they are receiving. The injuries that can occur from neglect, a fall, or other traumatic event are too serious to ignore.
If your loved one is in a nursing home or assisted living facility and is not getting the care you think he needs, contact a Virginia nursing home injury lawyer. Contact Sandra Rohrstaff for more information. 703-260-6070 or [email protected]