Over the years we have met with many families who face the difficult step of having to place a loved one in a facility. We routinely counsel families and help them protect their assets so they can afford the cost of these facilities. Excellent documents and structuring assets to protect the client and the family are vital.
However, that is only one part of my job. My cases are not transactions - they are people.
There is always a box of tissues in my office. Why? Because this is one of the most difficult and heart wrenching decisions a person will have to make. We are talking about someone’s husband, wife, mother, or father. We are talking about taking this person out of their home, where they thought they would spend their final days, and placing them into a strange facility, surrounded by strangers. There is a tremendous amount of guilt and doubt that comes with making that decision.
Making this decision is hard enough. Once a person finally makes the decision to place a loved one in a facility, they begin experiencing a whole new range of concerns.
One of the top concerns of family members is the care and safety of their loved one in the facility. These concerns are common:
“Is my mom being mistreated when I am not there?”
“Is the facility doing all it can to try to prevent my dad from falling?”
“Is my mom being neglected?”
Maybe, and hopefully, you do not notice a clear-cut possible sign of abuse such as bruising or physical injury. These are some of the common doubts we hear from clients that MAY point to the possibility of lack of good care:
“My husband’s dementia just advanced really quickly”
“I don’t know why the nursing home waited so long to take mom to the hospital”
“I don’t know why the nursing home waited so long before calling me and telling me mom was hurt, fell, etc.”
“My dad just went downhill really fast”
Statements like these can alert you to serious problems that have happened to your loved one in a facility. If you think this could be the case….
There are some simple things you can do to try and make sure mom or dad get proper care. In a perfect world, this would not be necessary but we don’t live there - we live in reality. In my opinion, anything you can do to TRY to ensure your parents or loved ones are well taken care of is well worth trying.
Here are some tips:
1- Visit at different times. If the staff knows you always visit at 5 p.m. they may only clean mom up right before 5 in preparation for your visit. Try not to let your schedule become predictable and “pop” in during different times of the day.
2- Bring food or treats for the staff. You can bring the nurses cake, pie, bagels, etc. This is common sense but people notice and remember kindness.
3- Try to visit for more than two hours. Certified nursing assistants are required to check in on their residents at least every two hours. Are they doing that? Observe how the staff treats mom. The staff will also see that you are involved.
4- Keep a log of your visits and take detailed notes of anything that rubs you the wrong way. Take pictures of dirty linens, unclean rooms, etc. If mom has actual physical signs of injuries or neglect, take pictures, and find out what happened immediately. Ask for the director of nursing or the nursing home administrator. Remember NOT to take pictures of any other residents as that could be a HIPAA violation. The bottom line is to keep good records.
WATCH OUT FOR…
Changes in loved one’s health
In our office, we have been blessed with families who fiercely protect their loved ones. We hope these practical tips help ensure your loved one is getting proper care.
If you need help or guidance, call us at (954) 233-0682 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.