Once an elder person or the family of the elder person makes the decision to place the elder in a nursing home, they must select a nursing home. After selecting a nursing home problems may arise.
The first thing that the elder must know and realize is that he or she has rights when living in the nursing home. The elder should communicate with his or her family about any concerns or problems that arise while residing in the nursing home. The family members should then go to the nursing home staff to discuss the elder's issues and concerns.
Protection of an Elder's Rights and Dignity While in the Nursing Home
The elder should not lose rights or dignity upon admission to the nursing home. The elder should still have:
- Freedom to do activities or visit with friends and family.
- Choice of clothing and food.
- Control over their finances.
- Right to chose a doctor.
- Right to make decisions about their medical treatment unless a healthcare power of attorney was executed.
The Nursing Home Resident's Bill of Rights assists residents of nursing homes in keeping their privacy and dignity. The Bill of Rights protects the most basic rights of the residents. The nursing home facility is required to comply with the Bill of Rights if certified by Medicare or Medicaid.
When the Nursing Home Fails to Properly Respond
If the nursing home fails to properly respond to the elder's concerns, the elder's family may want to join or start an advocacy group for the residents of the nursing home to address certain concerns. The family may also contact a local or state agency that oversees nursing homes in an attempt to have the elder's concerns addressed. If the concerns or issues raised involve neglect or abuse, then the elder should be removed from the nursing home facility.
Neglect and Abuse of Residents
Unfortunately, the elder may receive poor care while in the nursing home facility. Often times poor care results in untrained or uncertified staff members or because the facility is understaffed. Some signs that may indicate that the elder is the victim of neglect include:
- Medication used to control the elder's behavior.
The elder may also be abused by nursing care facility staff members. The elder may either be physically or psychologically abused. If abusive behavior results, the elder should be removed from the facility. The elder or members of the family should file a complaint with the nursing home facility and/or report the abuse to the proper agency in the state. Given the level of abuse, the elder may discuss the potential of criminal charges being lodged against the facility. The elder may also desire to file a civil suit against the staff members and/or the nursing home facility.
Copyright 2007 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.