Moving a loved one into a nursing facility can be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever make. Nursing home care can be costly and reduce one’s sense of independence. And then there’s the question everyone has: are nursing homes safe?
It’s a question that’s become more important than ever in the age of the epidemic—stories of COVID-19 running rampant in nursing facilities are commonplace. This has cast doubt on the safety of nursing homes for elderly residents, further sullying institutions that were polarizing enough in the first place.
So, with these stories in mind, are nursing homes safe or not? As with most things, the answer is, “it depends.” Most nursing homes are perfectly safe for senior citizens, especially those who need constant monitoring, care, and medication. Nursing homes can also mitigate the risk of fall injuries, which can be devastating in old age. They also provide additional security that a senior citizen may not have in their home.
Having staff on-site 24/7 means that your loved one receives the medical attention they need in a timely manner. The companionship of a nursing home can also alleviate the feeling of isolation many seniors get as their social circles dwindle in size. Many nursing facilities strive to provide a home-like atmosphere
Nursing home care staff are trained and licensed medical professionals. The vast majority of nursing homes conduct stringent background checks on their employees to prevent cases of abuse or theft. Different nursing facilities will have different hiring standards, so it’s vital that you do your research on a facility and ask plenty of questions about its hiring process and their methods for employee screening.
Regardless of the safeguards most facilities put in place, we’ve all heard stories about nursing homes with poor living conditions; tools such as ProPublica’s Nursing Home Inspect can help you identify nursing homes that have been found guilty of regulations violations so you can see how the facilities in your area compare in terms of safety and compliance. However, even the facilities with the best track records can be unsafe in situations such as the COVID-19 epidemic. The combination of high contagiousness and a dense population of at-risk people can mean unfortunate consequences for nursing home residents and staff alike. If you are committed to a nursing home solution or find that it’s your only option, discuss the care provider’s plan in case of a future epidemic—you deserve to know how well they’re prepared to safeguard your loved one in a critical environment.
At the end of the day, answering the question, “are nursing homes safe?” requires a bit of due diligence. As this is a decision that affects the wellbeing and happiness of a loved one, be sure to thoroughly research the care facilities on your list so you can have peace of mind with your decision.
If you’re hesitant to move your loved one to a nursing facility, or just want to explore your options, consider home health care as an alternative. Home health professionals can provide many of the services of a nursing home while allowing seniors to stay in their homes and maintain their independence and quality of life. Ultimate Home Health Care offers home health care services, personal attendant services, and more from well-trained and compassionate professionals. Contact us today to learn more.