Putting a parent or loved one into a nursing home is one of the most difficult tasks you may ever encounter. When this decision is made, it often means that you are no longer capable of taking care of your loved one on your own. Usually they need much more care than you can provide. Taking someone whom you not only love, but whom you look up to—someone who probably took care of you for most of your life—and putting them in the hands of a nursing home is terrifying and is not an easy decision. By doing this, you are trusting the home and the staff to treat your loved one the way that you would—to care for them diligently, appropriately, and at the very minimum, meet the standard of care.
Unfortunately, nursing homes are often understaffed and poorly managed which can lead to instances of abuse and neglect. These problems are present in New Mexico and in fact, recent reports have shown that there are fewer than 10 top-rated nursing homes in the state.
What to Look for in a Nursing Home
When the day comes that you have to consider a nursing home for your loved one, there are some things that you should pay attention to:
A key to providing good care in nursing homes is simply having a good staff to patient ratio. The federal government says about a quarter of all nursing home complaints can be linked to low staffing levels. When considering nursing home options, ask the management about staff-to-patient ratio and about staff counts on all shifts, especially night shift. In 2013, NBC News reported that staffing levels reported on a widely used government website were higher than the actual facility staff levels and in more than 25% of nursing homes nationwide, the amount of staff listed on the public website was at least double the level in its cost reports.This website allows you to track discrepancies in nursing home staff levels.
The cleanliness of the home itself is obviously directly related to staffing. Unfortunately, understaffing often leads to negligence in taking care of the personal hygiene of patients as well as the cleanliness of the facility itself. Sanitation within nursing homes is incredibly important because the patients who are in the home are already more susceptible to disease and infection.
3. Do the Leg Work
Don’t rely on the nursing home website for your information. As mentioned above, the reporting websites are often incorrect and even when families select what appears to be a high quality, well-staffed nursing home, they often find that the self-reported data is incorrect. The only way to really know what conditions your loved one will experience is to do the leg work and physically go to the facility to ask questions and observe. Use a check list like this one from U.S. News & World Reports that outlines the questions you should ask and the details you should observe.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys if You Suspect Wrongdoing
According to the most recent reports, there are roughly 75 nursing homes in New Mexico. When searching for the right one, make sure you consider the above information. If you or your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in New Mexico, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers have a history of success and are here to help.