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How to Protect Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuse


Taking proactive and precautionary measures is an effective way to prevent elder abuse in Tennessee. Before entrusting the health and safety of a loved one to a nursing home, family members should take the following actions to ensure that he or she will be well taken care of.

Inspect Records and Legal History

The certification and inspection records held by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are public record and can be accessed by anyone. Facilities that receive federal funding are required to be inspected regularly. Incidents and issues that have occurred within the facility are recorded in these documents. Family members can inspect these records and determine whether there is a pattern of issues that threaten the health and safety of residents.

Individuals should also check the legal history of the facility and whether or not there have been lawsuits filed against staff or the facility itself. This information is public record and is useful in determining whether there is a history of abuse and neglect within the facility.

Questions to Ask the Nursing Home

It is also highly advisable for family members to visit the facility and ask questions regarding the staff to patient ratio, the types of screening the facility subjects employees to, and what types of certification and training the facility requires of everyone from nurses to cafeteria workers. Individuals can also discuss the staff turnover rate and look for signs of stress, dissatisfaction, and fear in the patients who live there. While it may be uncomfortable for family members to ask some of these questions, these questions can keep a loved one safe from harm. If any red flags pop up, these should be thoroughly addressed and answered prior to making the decision to admit a loved one to the facility.

Finally, family members should choose a nursing home facility that is as close to home as possible. This will make it easier for family members to visit and to respond to any situations that may arise. This will also have a positive impact on the mental health of the loved one because they will remain connected to the community they are familiar with.

A nursing home abuse attorney in Tennessee can help conduct research into the legal history and certification of a facility prior to admitting a loved one for care. Investing in an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure when nursing home safety is involved.

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