Last updated April 28, 2017.
Families often contact us with questions regarding long-term care and nursing home facilities and whether these facilities have rendered appropriate care to their loved ones. These conversations typically start with concerns that family members or residents had when they first entered a facility.
When those conversations arise, we always ask the question, “Did you use your senses when you first visited the facility?” These senses (e.g., smell, sight, taste …) are some of your best resources in making decisions about placement for yourself or your loved one in a long-term care facility or nursing home.
Below, we’ll go over a few to get you started, though you should always do additional research independent of a visit to choose the best Ohio nursing home or long-term care facility for you or your loved one. It could make a big difference in overall health and happiness for your family — and even potentially prevent the negligence and medical malpractice associated with nursing home abuse.
Nursing Home Senses: The “Sniff Test”
When entering a facility, one of the first things you should do is use the basic “sniff test.” In other words, if it doesn’t smell right, it probably isn’t. Make sure you use the “sniff test” beyond just the main entrance area of the facility.
Very often, nursing homes or long-term care facilities will make their entrance area smell and look nicer than any other area of the building. Ask for a tour of the lunch room, an unoccupied resident’s room, and other main areas and continue to use your sense of smell. Again, if it doesn’t smell right, there may be an underlying issue of concern.
Nursing Home Senses: Observe the Residents
Next, use your sense of sight. In looking around, try to determine if it appears that residents or patients are being left on their own to try to move around or if they are just sitting in the hallways or placed in front of a television. Does it look like residents are being engaged and cared for? What sort of social activities or regular programming is available?
Further, be very conscientious in looking at the cleanliness of the facility. Again, as with the “sniff test,” make sure you use your sense of sight beyond the main entrance. Those flowers that are placed at the front of the building may be the only place of brightness in an entire facility.
Nursing Home Senses: Try the Food
Lastly, be confident in asking if you can be served a resident’s meal while you’re visiting the facility. If the food doesn’t look fit to feed one of your own family members, then it probably isn’t fit to feed the loved one you’re placing in a long-term care facility. Just because somebody is being placed in a facility doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be served food that tastes good, is full of fresh ingredients, and has the appropriate nutritional value for good health.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends some of the following healthy-eating habits for older adults, so check to see if the facility is following any of these:
- Keep sodium low, and instead add spices to foods;
- Work in sliced fruits and vegetables for snacks;
- Opt for water instead of sugary drinks, and drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk throughout the day;
- Vitamin B12 is still important for older adults, so try to consume fortified foods, such as cereal.
Get Help from an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
One of the most common complaints we hear the law firm of Plevin & Gallucci is that a nursing home or long-term care facility didn’t smell good, the food was horrible, or their family member was completely ignored. You can help avoid the potential negative outcomes that occur by using your senses when you visit and tour facilities.
If you have any questions regarding concerns about a facility where you’ve placed your loved one, we can advise you on your rights and help protect your loved one as they continue to need nursing home care. If you believe your loved one has been injured, or their rights impacted, it is important to speak with an attorney so that the complex set of laws impacting nursing home and long-term care facilities in Ohio can be investigated.