The problem many people face
Part of the problem that Christmas describes is the fact that he did not have the resources or time available to narrow down his options when selecting a nursing home for his mother. Most children want to find a clean, safe nursing home, but oftentimes find that they are unable to sort through the countless pieces of information online. Most end up taking the word of the facility.
Even though the Kingstree Nursing ranking was “above average” by the feds, inspection reports show that the facility had been documented for not implementing neglect / abuse policies at the center and a failure to report a head injury to a patient. Obviously, those types of records would have allowed Christmas to make a better-informed decision. Though the federal website is easy enough to see, the reports from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) are more difficult to see. You have to file a formal request for specific records; the records are not released online. DHEC Director Catherine Templeton has since made it clear that she wants the records to be published online within the next eight months, which is going to help in any prospective search. Nevertheless, for Christmas this small victory is not going to provide him much solace.
What can you do if you suspect abuse or other issues?
What can you do if you suspect that there might be nursing home abuse or something similar? These steps can help you make the right decision:
- Stay rational – The first notion might be to be protective and become emotional, but losing your temper is not going to help. Try to look for a reasonable resolution to the situation.
- Be willing to document everything – If you have a discussion with someone or if you notice something you believe is out of the ordinary; make a note of it to keep the details available.
- Do not be afraid to contact the authorities – If you believe the bathroom has not been cleaned in a week, the police are not going to be much help. However, if you suspect abuse and/or imminent danger you must contact the authorities. They should at the very least take a written complaint from you.
- Report all suspected elder neglect or abuse – Every state has a form of protective services for adults. You can contact them if you have any questions or concerns. Moreover, every nursing home is required to post the name and number of the local Ombudsman. These people are responsible for making sure that long-term care facilities investigate neglect and abuse.
- Talk to a lawyer – If you feel that your loved one is neglected or abused, they are entitled to protection. They may also be entitled to compensation.
Remember, many practices are not going to change unless you address them with formal, legal action. Even if you believe that something is a minor incident or a careless mistake, make sure that you report it. It may make all the difference in the future.