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Carefully Choosing a Home May Reduce Likelihood of Nursing Home Injury

TheBoston Globe recently published tips for selecting a good nursing home. Our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys know just how important it is to select a safe home so that you or your loved one is in safe and capable hands at all times. Obviously, the competency of medical care is one of the most critical factors involved in quality nursing home care, but a nursing home should also be comfortable.

The article suggests that family and potential residents visit facilities together to observe the living environment. If possible, visitors should go to the home at varying times of day and on the weekends to observe the different staffing and activities available at those times. Visits to observe staffing and care procedures are particularly important if the potential resident has a condition such as dementia which may require more intensive care than other illnesses.

On-site, real time observations also give potential residents the ability to see how staff members and nurses interact with patients beyond the methods and ideologies advertised by the home. While observing interactions, the article suggests that visitors pay extra attention to the gestures and language staff members use when communicating with residents. Patience, attentiveness, and gentle, caring gestures, such as a pat on the shoulder, are all characteristics that indicate a positive care environment. Alternatively, the home environment may be less than desirable if staff is short- tempered with a resident, or if caretakers appear to be forceful in treatment.

Ideally, homes should have a full time activity coordinator but, if not, the facility should still have coordinated activities available. A few Wisconsin homes provide an outstanding example of good nursing home environments. The homes are part of a larger non-profit initiative taking place nationwide, called Green House. This initiative redevelops nursing home facilities so that rooms are organized in small intimate layouts with customized dining, activity, and care amenities.

Communities are generally grouped in clusters of 11 to 12 individual rooms with a communal dining and living space. In the communal space nurses, staff, and residents dine together and residents are often offered a customizable menu of made to order dishes. During activity time residents are sometimes able to bake sweet treats, or participate in craft projects with local kindergarten students who visit the home to sing and interact with residents. Family members of residents comment on the increasingly vivacious and bubbly personalities that emerge in their loved ones once they settle in to the facility.

In addition to direct benefits for the residents, the homes that undergo this sort of community facelift also receive financial benefits. In Wisconsin, the homes that underwent this makeover now receive $10 more per day per resident from government Medicaid funds.

Even where a total remodel may be too expensive, some Wisconsin homes are still finding ways to incorporate parts of the Green Houses concepts into redesigns. Partial facelifts incorporate amenities like libraries and expansive aquariums for patient enjoyment. Aside from the extra bells and whistles, homes are also making basic structural changes that increase patient privacy, such as downsizing rooms from including 10 beds, to only 3 in one space. Other homes are striving to improve by reducing accidents and lowering their hospital visit rates for residents.

Our Chicago nursing home attorneys find it encouraging that states are looking for new ways to improve nursing homes, even on tight budgets. If you or a loved one is injured while living in a nursing home you should contact an attorney as quickly as possible to get help in receiving compensation for the injuries sustained. Attentive screening of facilities before moving in goes a long way towards finding a safe home, but accidents can happen anywhere. It is important that you get the appropriate attention and assistance if an injury occurs.