Kentucky has more than 1.6 million residents over the age of 50. And out of that 1.6 million, thousands of elderly residents live in nursing homes. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse likely occurs in some of those facilities. Finding a safe nursing home for yourself or a family member is a big task. Here are some indicators a nursing home is possibly not the best choice.
A bad inspection report
Each state has an agency to inspect, license and certify nursing homes. Inspection reports are available online and at individual facilities. State and federal law require nursing homes to post the most recent inspection report in a publicly accessible area.
In Kentucky, the Office of Inspector General is responsible for licensing nursing home facilities. Medicare also offers Nursing Home Lookup which allows you to research specific nursing homes.
The smell of urine
A strong urine odor in a nursing home could mean residents are soiled and dirty for hours before being cleaned. The problem could result from understaffing or nursing home neglect. When taken care of promptly, cleaning and toileting issues shouldn’t create foul odors.
Hostile staff and residents
Interactions between residents and nursing home staff speak volumes about the facility. For example, staff members should display patience with residents. They should respond promptly when asked for help and avoid vulgar language. An unprofessional staff is a sign of a badly managed nursing home.
Likewise, residents who are violent or aggressive could indicate an unfavorable atmosphere.
An unsafe location
Nursing home residents often go outdoors for exercise, recreation and fresh air. The nursing home should have a secure outdoor area for the residents. The quality of the neighborhood also matters. A high-crime or high-traffic area isn’t necessarily a good location.
A dirty facility
Overflowing trash cans, dirty floors and dirty surfaces are red flags. If the facility is dirty, that could mean cleaning is a low priority. Residents should have clean rooms with clean linen. Other areas, such as the lobby and dining room, should also be clean. Forcing residents to live in a dirty facility is a form of nursing home abuse.
Choosing a nursing home
Searching for a good nursing home takes time and patience. But if you heed the red flags, you’ll increase your chances of finding a good facility.