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Nursing Home Warning Signs

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If you have an elder loved one who needs long-term care, how can you be sure that the facility you select will deliver the care, services, and attention your relative deserves?  How do you get past the hype in the facility’s marketing brochure?  What are the most common signs that a facility might have problems that would not be evident to a prospective resident and his or her family?

When you are in the market for a long-term care facility, watch out for the following red flags:


High Caregiver Turnover Rates

High turnover rates may be the biggest red flag of them all.  When there’s always someone new tending to your loved one, no one sticks around long enough to get to know them.  Low turnover rates, on the other hand, are an indicator of stability.  Caregivers have worked for the facility long enough to get to know the residents and their preferences.  When your loved one has had the same caregivers for several years, these caregivers will notice when something seems off and they will tell you what they are noticing so you can check it out.  When there’s constant turnover, the caregivers never really get to know the residents, and they will likely not catch these changes.

High Staff-to-Resident Ratio

A staff-to-resident ratio refers to the number of caregivers responsible for the care of each resident.  For example, a 1:8 ratio means that one caregiver cares for eight residents during their shift.  This is a critically important metric.  A low staff-to-resident ratio means that when residents need help, they can quickly and easily get it from a knowledgeable caregiver.

High Turnover in the Administration Ranks

Frequent changes in leadership can be another red flag.   One of the best ways to assess this metric is to find out how many people have been in the administrator’s role in the last ten years.  Your best bet is a facility where the administrator has been there a long time.  That kind of tenure means that the leaders of the facilities develop long-term relations ships with the staff and the residents.

More Amenities than Care

One of the latest trends in senior living involves building huge complexes that offer independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care on a single campus-with amenities galore.  These facilities look great from the outside, but you have to be careful.  If your mom is on the seventh floor of a high rise and she can barely walk, how easy will it be for her to get downstairs to the dining hall when there’s a shortage of caregivers?  And then there’s the matter of fit.  If your mom opted to move to a community so she could socialize with others, yet her room is far away from the common areas where residents gather, will she end up stuck in her room if no caregiver is available to help her get to the common area?

Working with an elder care coordinator in a Life Care Planning Law Firm is one of the best ways to get the truth about a long-term care facility.  At Burzynski Elder Law, our elder care coordinator works with clients to take them into long term care facilities geared to that person’s needs and wants.  If you want to get the placement decision right the first time, our firm can help you make it happen.  Call us at 239-434-8557 to begin your journey.