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Finding a Safe and Reputable Nursing Home

Although it is often a hard decision, sometimes the best thing to do for yourself and your family is to find a nursing home or assisted living facility for your loved one. If you have a parent or family member who is unable to live on their own or with you, a nursing home can provide safe, proper care and a comfortable lifestyle. 

Unfortunately, elder abuse happens at nursing homes in Wisconsin. Residents may be hurt, taken advantage of, or neglected. Before you choose a facility for your loved one, make sure to investigate and look for signs of neglect or abuse.

At Boller & Vaughan, we know that there are great nursing homes in Wisconsin, but there are also those that perpetuate abuse. We help clients understand the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse and take appropriate legal action when necessary. If you’re worried about the level of care your loved one is receiving at their nursing home or assisted living facility, contact our team for a complimentary consultation. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.

What should you look for in a nursing home?

It’s important to judge a potential nursing home facility on its positive aspects. Here are some essential factors to consider:

  • Opportunities for socializing with other residents
  • Planned daily activities and seasonal celebrations
  • Ratio of staff members to residents
  • Visiting policies
  • Training/qualifications of staff members
  • Availability of medical care
  • Assistance with bathing, cleaning, eating, and taking medication
  • Clean, safe accommodations and common areas
  • High-quality, nutritious food

By taking the time to thoroughly research an assisted living facility or nursing home, you can reduce the chances of your loved one being neglected or abused. Make sure to check for signs of poor care every time you visit your loved one, and encourage them to report any concerns to you immediately.

COVID-19 protocols for nursing homes

COVID-19 has created extra challenges for nursing homes. Residents of these facilities are often high-risk individuals who are susceptible to the virus. Additionally, staff and healthcare personnel must maintain physical interaction with residents, which can increase the risk of transmission. 

It may be hard for many residents, especially those with dementia, to remember and/or follow certain protocols like hand washing and wearing a facemask. These challenges make it even more important to choose a facility that is vigilant about taking all possible precautions.

The Wisconsin DHS provides guidance to nursing homes in the state to help them prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Here are some of the guidelines care facilities and nursing homes should follow during the pandemic:

  • Maintain extra supervision of residents with dementia who may need help washing their hands or remembering not to touch their faces
  • Provide information about COVID from reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Follow CDC guidance for on-site cosmetology services (hair salons and barbershops)
  • Complete a facility self-assessment for infection control preparedness and response
  • Actively screen visitors, staff members, and healthcare personnel for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Educate residents about COVID symptoms and precautions
  • Require staff members and visitors to wear facemasks
  • Maintain social distancing in communal areas
  • Provide hand hygiene supplies and PPE
  • Follow the CDC’s infection control guidance if an outbreak is suspected

It’s vital to make sure the nursing home you’re considering is following all CDC guidelines and state regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Look for a facility that maintains a strict sanitation protocol and provides residents and their family members with reliable information about the situation.

What are the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse?

When you are researching nursing homes for your loved one, check for signs of neglect, exploitation, and abuse among the current residents. You can also use the state’s provider search tool to see whether a facility you’re considering has a history of any complaints. Even after you find a safe facility and move your loved one in, it’s vital to remain vigilant. Wisconsin’s DHS provides a list of signs to watch out for:

  • Repeated and unexplained injuries: bruises, broken bones, cuts, and bed sores
  • Frequent use of the ER or switching of doctors
  • Unexplained financial changes: large withdrawals or charges, sudden transfer of assets to a caregiver, unexpected changes to wills or power of attorney agreements
  • Poor personal hygiene and unclean living areas
  • Excessively hot or cold temperatures
  • Improperly given medications
  • Symptoms of emotional abuse: unexplained anxiety, fear, or worry

Unfortunately, cases of exploitation, neglect, and abuse in nursing homes often go unreported. Sometimes facilities take steps to cover up reports without making meaningful changes in their personnel or policies. If you are concerned about abuse in a nursing home, it’s essential to report it right away. A personal injury attorney can help you access legal options for justice and compensation.

Contact an experienced attorney if you suspect nursing home abuse

While many assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Wisconsin provide a high level of care, there are unfortunately some that neglect and abuse their residents. Knowing the signs of elder abuse and exploitation can help you choose a safe and comfortable residence for your loved one. If you notice any unexplained changes in their health or level of care, it’s important to take action right away.

At Boller & Vaughan, we’re dedicated to ensuring that Wisconsin residents are safe and cared for in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. If your loved one has experienced inadequate care or abuse, our team of personal injury attorneys can help you understand your legal options.

Schedule a free consultation at our Madison, Wisconsin, office by calling 608-268-0268 or contacting us online. Follow Boller & Vaughan on Twitter for up-to-date information on nursing home neglect and elder abuse.