Friday, March 8, 2013

Looking Out For A Loved One In A Nursing Home

A news article by recently directed family members how to look out for an elderly relative in a nursing home.  According to the 2/26/2013 article, there are many ways to assure that your loved one is being properly cared for at their nursing home.
First of all, make sure that you check in with your relative and ask them firsthand how they feeling about their nursing home.  Asking questions, like how comfortable and safe they fell, are good starting points for getting the real feel of the facility. Other important questions to ask are how long it takes for a call button to get answered and if they have formed positive relationships with any staff or other residents.  Also asking questions about what a typical day looks like  may be helpful in determining potential problems within the facility.

Additionally, look around the facility and be alert for unusual sounds and smells.  Do the residents and their clothing also appear clean and taken care of?  Also, listen carefully.  Do you hear silence, laughter, or music? Or do you hear silence or clanking, rattling pipes?   As small as these observations might seem, they may be important for gauging the atmosphere and mood of the facility.
You should be able to check in with the nursing home any time you would like, but is courteous to ask the staff when the best time during the day to call might be.  Many nursing homes often have quarterly conferences to give you and your elderly family member times to catch up with staff and address potential questions/concerns.  Also dropping by the facility unannounced may give you a clear picture of a normal day.

Also be conscious of the fact that the nursing home staff needs several things from you as well.  They need a phone number where they can reach you promptly and efficiently.  They also need you to be respectful of them and their time, since they have very busy and demanding jobs. 
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer who  takes nursing home abuse and neglect cases in the western and central Pennsylvania areas.  He takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties, and his practice is based in Altoona, PA.  For more information on his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at 

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