Q: Is there some way to determine if my Mom/Dad is getting improper care BEFORE she/he suffers an injury or gets sick?
A: Of course there is no perfect way to monitor their care and ensure they get the best care possible. Still, an understanding of the fundamental treatment algorithm for long term nursing care is a great start.
Step 1 / Assessment- Every admission should begin with an assessment of the new resident. It should include the resident’s needs (why are they here), risks (do they need protection from falls, infections, etc.), goals (what is the nursing facility trying to accomplish for mom/dad, and ability (of the facility)- do they have the ability to meet your parent’s needs.
Step 2 / Care Planning- The old adage “Failing to plan, is planning to fail” could not be more apt. The nursing facility should have detailed plans for care to meet your parent’s goals (think physical therapy or occupational therapy), and protections against the risks of injury or illness to your parent.
Step 3 / Implementation -The Care Plan has to be properly documented and adequately communicated to the staff that provides care and protection for your parent. AND, the direct care provider has to follow the plan. From a broader perspective, the Nursing facility has to have sufficient, properly trained staff to provide the care.
Step 4 / Evaluation- Is the care and protections provided by the nursing facility working? The nursing facility should be updating the care plan if the original plan is not effective.
This nursing algorithm should be applied continually throughout your parent’s stay at the facility. Graphically, it looks like this:
Ask for your parent’s Care Plan; politely, of course. There is no reason the facility should want to keep this from you. Knowing what the facility is trying to accomplish, and how they intend to accomplish it, allows you to be a knowing observer of your parent’s care. It will also enable you to ask intelligent questions about what the facility is doing for mom/dad. For example, is this modality working, is there an alternative treatment; and sometimes the tougher questions like why isn’t this part of the care plan happening, and/or do you have enough staff to accomplish the plan.
If you have questions about nursing home care, the attorneys at Cooper Levenson are ready to answer your questions, and lend a hand.