Are Nursing Homes Actually Good For Elderly People?
When run correctly and when residents enjoy excellent, respectful care, nursing homes can be good for elderly people. However, poorly run facilities and those with abusive or neglectful caregivers can result in harm to older adults.
What Are the Risks Posed by Nursing Homes?
The care delivery model of traditional nursing homes may leave much to be desired in terms of resident safety. Residents can face increased risks to their physical health and psychological well-being due to factors like infections and apathetic or untrained staff.
Some serious yet preventable conditions common to nursing home residents include:
- Secondary infections
- Respiratory infection
- Kidney infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Heart failure
- Hip fractures
- Pulmonary edema
- Bacterial skin infections
- Injuries due to falls
The skyrocketing cost of nursing home residency also poses risks for elderly people. Rather than having the quality of care increase with cost, residents may not receive a reasonable standard of care, potentially putting their well-being at risk.
Studies have also found nursing home residents suffer a substantially higher rate of mental and emotional problems, including depression and anxiety. They are also much more likely to commit suicide than elderly people who do not live in a residential care facility.
What Circumstances Make Nursing Homes Good for Elderly People?
Although living in a residential care facility may never be good for certain elderly people, nursing home residents have a right to several things that can make the experience more tolerable. They include:
- Retain their privacy and individual freedoms
- Stay with their spouse or partner
- Live in a facility without foul odors
- Live with dignity
- Receive the care and treatment they need
- Live with a sense of security
Simply having the freedom to pick out their own clothing and determine how they spend their days can hold significant meaning for elderly people. Unfortunately, they do not retain these options in some nursing homes.
When Can a Nursing Home Harm an Elderly Person?
Every person, young or old, deserves to live in a location that affords safety, dignity and respect. Older adults want to retain as much independence and autonomy as possible and make choices about medical treatment and care whenever possible.
If an elderly person goes to live in a residential care facility that fails to provide these basic needs and rights, it will negatively affect their well-being.
When caregivers, medical practitioners, and other staff neglect or abuse elderly residents, those in their care can sustain significant harm. Types of abuse that can harm an elderly person include:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Neglect (can include basic needs neglect and medical neglect)
Each U.S. state dictates the laws and policies that affect residential care facilities. The more comprehensive a state’s oversight, the less likely elderly residents are to sustain harm. Check your state’s policies for residential care to determine the potential risk in your area.
What Factors Affect an Elderly Person’s Well-Being in Nursing Homes?
To ensure the best outcome for a loved one in a nursing home, family members can attempt to ensure that the facility scores well in the following key metrics:
The higher the ratio of staff to residents, the better the experience will be for those who live there. A lower ratio can lead to stressed or overwhelmed staff, which increases the risk of caregiver burnout. Stress and burnout are two risk factors for abuse and neglect.
Staff Training and Competency
The higher the facility’s standards for staff training and competency, the better the residents’ chances of receiving an acceptable level of care. That is because untrained staff may make mistakes that cause injuries and erode residents’ sense of safety and well-being.
Staff Turnover Rates
If the facility staff turns over quickly, residents may face an increased risk of nursing home injuries and abuse. New employees may also lack the training necessary to deliver safe, respectful care.
Quality of Life Focus
Facilities with a quality of life focus respect the resident’s wishes whenever possible, rather than approaching their care based on staff convenience.
Other factors that are important to older adults include:
- Having their own room
- Meal programs that serve tasty, nutritious food
- Opportunities to socialize at their discretion
- Access to activities and services on-site
What Should You Do if a Loved One Suffered Abuse or Injury in a Nursing Home?
Unfortunately, families sometimes have no choice but to put an elderly loved one in a nursing home. If the unthinkable happens and your loved one suffers abuse or neglect, you may not know what steps to take.
A nursing home abuse lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal issues and obtain the resources the victim needs to recover from their injuries. A lawyer will identify the parties who caused the victim’s injuries and pursue legal action to hold them accountable. Your lawyer will also help you recover the financial compensation you need to get the victim to safety and obtain comprehensive medical treatment and care.
To request a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer, call 1-800-516-4783 today for help. The lawyers at Nursing Home Abuse Center can help you determine the right course of action for your loved one.