Kansas City Missouri Legal Blog

What should I look for in a nursing home?

If you are no longer able to care for an aging parent, a Missouri nursing home may be the answer to meeting his or her increased needs. It is not always easy, however, to find the right one. You should plan on visiting several in your area before deciding where to place your mom or dad.

The American Association of Retired Persons provides several tips for finding the right nursing home for your parents. Bear in mind that some issues may not present themselves until after move-in, so you need to remain mindful of conditions on an ongoing basis.

Plan to visit during meal time so you can taste the quality of food. Is it important that your parent have meal choices or fresh vegetables, and are they available? With some residents on restricted diets, basic dishes may be bland for a reason. Speak with the staff about their ability and willingness to add seasonings or fresh veggies for individual diners.

As people age, they may lose control of their bladder or bowels, so you must accept that there will be bad odors. That doesn’t mean, however, that the facility should always smell bad. Urine tends to sink into cracks in tile and other flooring material, and into the wax on the floors as well. If there is a constant, pervasive smell, however, the floors may not be receiving the cleaning they need. Wax must be stripped regularly to remove urine.

How do staff members treat the patients? Do they spend time with residents as they care for them and afterward? Do they take an interest in them? That is, or should be, an important part of health-care services. Are residents up and about, even if they are in wheelchairs? Whether they are chatting with neighbors, watching a movie or participating in activities, patients need to have daily interaction. A good nursing home ensures they get it, even if they are bedridden.

Always ask about bruising. Medication and age can make bruises easier to come by, and you may notice bruises on your parent’s forearm. By asking, you will learn what is normal and what is not. It may also prevent abuse if staff members know you will ask about marks on the skin.

If you are unhappy about the care, talk to the floor supervisor, and keep escalating the complaint until you reach the home’s director. If you remain unsatisfied and have exhausted all avenues at the home, you can move your parent, file a complaint with the state health department, or both.

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