3 red flags that indicate it’s not the nursing home for you

You had a difficult conversation with your mom about looking for a nursing home. Though you and your family members have tried your hardest, the truth is that your mother is starting to need more care than you can provide. Though she isn’t happy about it, it’s time to find a nursing home that can provide the care she needs.

When you’re placing a loved one into a nursing home, it’s important that you take the time to get to know the facility and identify any red flags that signal that you should look elsewhere for care. What kinds of red flags should you look for? Here are three.

1. The facility isn’t clean

The first thing that should concern you when you walk into a nursing home is any kind of unusual smell. If you smell urine or vomit, for example, you should see if there has been a recent accident or issue leading to the scent. If not, it could mean that the facility just isn’t able to keep up with caring for its patients.

2. Patients are left unattended

Another problem in some facilities is that there isn’t enough time to provide adequate oversight to patients. A patient may be taken to lunch but not taken back to their room, put outside in a protected courtyard space without an aide or left to do whatever they want, even though they should have someone checking in with them. If you find patients sitting alone and no nurses to be seen for an extended length of time, that’s not a good sign.

3. The food is bad

Finally, if you want to consider any nursing home, you need to eat the food that is served there. It’s not enough to serve a menu with some variety. The food needs to taste good and be able to be adapted for those with specific nutritional needs. If the food isn’t good or isn’t adaptable, then it’s time to move on to a different facility.

These might seem like unusual things to worry about when your loved one needs medical care, but cleanliness, nutrition and attention are all important in a nursing home or care setting. Your mother needs to have the right medical care, but it’s also important that she is treated as an individual, cared for well and respected as someone who has come to the nursing home for assistance. If the nursing home isn’t up to standard, then you need to choose another facility.

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NELFC - National Elder Law Foundation
CAP - Council of Advanced Practitioners | NAELA - National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
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