Looking Out for Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

Having a loved one in a nursing home can be an emotional experience. You want to make sure their needs are met by the facility and that they are being given the care that was promised and that they deserve.

How do you ensure that this is happening? Start with your loved one, who will most likely be your best source of information. Ask the questions you would want to be asked if the roles were reversed. These could include:  
  • Are you comfortable?
  • Do you feel safe?
  • Do you feel respected?
  • Is anything worrying you?
  • Do you like the staff—and any staff member in particular?
  • If you need help and you push the call button, how long before somebody comes?
  • Have you gotten to know any of the other residents? 
Show interest and concern and identify major problems, but try to avoid turning every visit into an interrogation. You will be able to determine if there are areas of concern in normal, everyday conversation.
Some questions will be better directed at staff members, particularly if your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s. In the first days and weeks, the focus should be on the initial adjustment. Do your loved one’s nurses see any signs of depression? Does your loved one appear to be making the transition smoothly? If not, what is being done to help your loved one? You can use the following questions as a starting point:
  • When is your loved one up?
  • Are your loved one’s meals appropriately prepared, e.g., soft or pureed food if your loved one has trouble chewing?
  • Is your loved one taking medications when and as often as needed? (The timing of each medication should be documented.) If there’s been a consistent problem, how is that being addressed?
  • Is there a reason to change any medications?
  • Is your loved one exercising or participating in other physical activities?
  • Is your loved one social? 
Don’t be afraid to broach more sensitive topics. If you were recently alerted of a behavioral issue or medical emergency, talk to both your loved one and the staff to figure out whether it was handled properly. You want to know what the staff did and what changes in care they’ve made.
Do you have a loved one who is in a nursing home or nearing the need for nursing home care? Or are you simply looking to plan ahead in the event nursing home care is needed in the future? Nursing homes in Northern Virginia cost $8-$10K per month. Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protectionis the process of protecting assets from having to be spent down in connection with entry into a nursing home, while also helping ensure that you or your loved one get the best possible care and maintain the highest possible quality of life, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. Learn more at The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firms of Evan H. Farr, P.C. website. Call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation. 
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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.