This week the Sacramento Bee ran a story about a number of nursing homes that had closed in the area. The Bee followed the patients to where they were relocated in another facility owned by the same company and found they were still in “jeopardy” at substandard facilities.
The company’s California facilities had “44 serious deficiencies” that had caused actual harm to patients. One of the facilities had a nursing assistant that was known to abuse patients. Her victims were afraid to talk fearing retribution. How scary would it be to live in a facility where you were being bullied?
My thought after reading the story was how many adult children of elderly patients in nursing homes know how well their parents are being cared for?
Visit Them Often – Your Presence Can Make All the Difference
To really know the level of care your loved one is being given you really need to visit them often and observe staff members and how they interact with their residents. It’s best to go at different times of the day and even pop in at night. While the day shift may be on top of things, another shift might not function as well or provide the same level of care.
If you live too far to visit often, perhaps you can rely on a friend or neighbor of your parents to be your eyes. If you have an immediate concern you may call the local police department for a “well check” on your parents but follow up with your county’s Ombudsman.
When There Are Problems
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has a toll-free Crisis Line at 800-231-4024 where someone can help 24 hours a day. They will listen to your concerns and follow up to find out what is going on where your parents are living. They advocate for the elderly whether it is mental, physical or financial abuse. They provide services by counties which are listed on their website. This link is a rich resource for anyone who has a loved one in long term care. There are a multitude of resources through the state for those living independently or with relatives. Adult day care, nutrition programs, support for caregivers and legal assistance are just a few of the services they offer.
How Does Your Parents’ Facility Rate?
You can find out more information on the facility your parents are living in or one you are considering at the Department of Social Services website. It will tell you about inspections and violations.