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When You Have a Parent in Long Term Care

long term care concept. Desk with stetascope, money and tablets. background for medical care

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.

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