Features to Avoid
When searching for the right nursing home, there are many features that you want to make sure that a home has. But, it is just as important to learn about features to avoid. There are some nursing home features that can point to mismanagement or other issues with the facility. Avoiding these features can help to keep your loved one safe during their time in a home. Here, I’ve compiled a list of the most important nursing home features to avoid. Keep this list in mind when searching for a home.
Staff Features to Avoid
When trying to make sure that nursing home staff members are qualified, you should look for certain things. Features to avoid in this situation include:
- Unscreened Employees. Talk to the nursing home about their application process. All potential employees should be properly screened and interviewed. This ensures that they are a good fit for the home. It also ensures that they don’t have a history of neglect or abuse. Nursing homes need to take the time to check that potential employees are certified and that they will work well with the elderly. Unscreened employees could present trouble in the home. All potential employees should get vetted before offered positions at a nursing home. They should complete the schooling, training, and licensing necessary to work in a home. Homes should also check that their employees don’t have a history of violence. People arrested for assault or other violent crimes are at a greater risk for causing abuse in homes. These candidates should not be accepted as employees of a nursing home. If they are given a position, they should be carefully monitored and frequently evaluated. When you visit a nursing home, inquire about the screening process for employees. Make sure that this process is thorough.
- High Staff Turnover. Staff turnover should be low for the home that you choose. It can be very difficult to work in a nursing home. This job is not for everyone. But, for consistency purposes, it is important that staff members stick around. Staff members will stay on at the home if it is well run, if they are treated well, and if the residents are treated well. A high turnover rate doesn’t always point to problems, but there could be a reason why staff members choose to leave.
- Lack Of Continued Training. Staff members in nursing homes need to have the opportunity to keep up with the latest medical information. The nursing home should give staff members the opportunity to continue their training. In fact, they should have a mandatory number of training hours for each staff member per year. Having a screening in process in place is a good start, but it is not enough when it comes to employee training. Laws, rules, and health practices are constantly changing. It is important that all employees of a nursing home are kept up-to-date on these changes. The nursing home should pay for each employee to receive education and training. This helps employees stay on top of any changes and become better at their jobs.
- Low Staff/Resident Ratio. You want your loved one to get as much personalized attention as possible. To ensure that this happens, make sure that the staff to resident ratio is low. Mistakes happen when staff members are juggling too many patients at once. Make sure that your loved one will get personalized and undivided attention. In order for your loved one to receive the best care in a home, they need individualized attention. Most nursing homes have nurses that take care of specific residents during their shifts. Make sure that the nurses and staff members do not have too many residents assigned to their care at one time. Ask nurses and other staff members roughly how many residents they are in charge of at any given time. This will give you a good idea of the staff to resident ratio. This ratio can impact response time, treatment, and the likelihood of neglect and abuse.
- Long Staff Hours. It is important that you do not pick a nursing home where the staff is overworked. Overworked and tired nurses are oftentimes burnt out, tired, and frustrated. This is a bad combination when working with residents that need compassionate care. When speaking with a staff member, you should subtly ask them what their hours are like. Before visiting the home, you may be able to look up staff hours and shift rules on the nursing home’s website. But, if you cannot find this information, ask a staff member. This can get you the answers that you need. Asking not only what a typical shift is like, but if shift rules get broken and how often will be telling. While staff members might not share this information, some might speak to you honestly. This can help you make a decision about the nursing home.
- Limited Registered Nurses. When learning about a home, you might be impressed by the number of licensed nurses the home has. While these staff members are an important part of keeping a nursing home safe, you should also pay attention to how many registered nurses the home has on staff. Registered nurses should be in charge of resident care. It is important that there are enough registered nurses working at the home to take care of the residents.
Home Features to Avoid
When it comes to your loved one’s care, make sure that the home does not have these features:
- No Care Plans. All nursing homes should have an individualized care plan for each resident. To not offer a care plan for every resident is a violation of the law. To make sure that your loved one will get individualized attention and that their needs will be met, a care plan is important.
- Limited Visiting Hours. Obviously many homes have a visiting policy in place. You can’t visit the home at any time. But, it is important that the home has good visiting hours. This will give you the opportunity to spend time with your loved one. Inconvenient visiting hours could mean that the home does not want you to visit. Make sure that you will have the opportunity to visit your loved one before deciding on a home. Chances are, you will want to visit your loved one regularly while they are living in a nursing home. You can discuss the visiting policy with the director of operations. Many nursing homes will work with the family to find the best times for visiting. Some nursing homes go above and beyond and allow family members to rent out a large room for parties. Even if the nursing home does not offer this option, you should make sure that it has regular visiting hours. Visiting on nights and weekends is possible in good nursing homes. Be sure to ask about this opportunity as well as visiting on or near holidays.
- Lack Of Abuse Prevention Plan. An abuse prevention plan is one of the best ways to avoid neglect and abuse in a nursing home. Make sure that a home has this policy in place. Without such a plan, there won’t be outlined consequences for neglect and abuse.
- Lack of Privacy. Your loved one should not have to worry about their privacy being violated in the nursing home. Your loved one should have the option of a single room, or at least choosing a roommate. Even if your loved is sharing a room, they should have private space. Your loved one should have a safe or an area to put valuables that no one else has access to. They should also have privacy to get dressed and bathe.
Look out for these negative features when choosing a nursing home. Doing so will help to keep your loved one safe.