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Monitor nursing homes for proper care

Moving an elderly family member into a nursing home can be very difficult for many Pennsylvania families. Many would prefer to care for loved ones themselves, but find they don't have the time or skills to provide the level of care needed. When residents are properly cared for, they can enjoy many more quality years living in a nursing home. Unfortunately, there are cases of premature nursing home death that can be prevented by staying in tune to the resident's needs and providing the care they require.

Caring for the elderly in a nursing home is an honorable profession, and most of the staff will likely be committed to doing the best they can to see that residents have the care they need. However, these same staff may be overworked, tired, cranky, and in a moment of weakness they may overlook cares your family member counts on for their comfort, and sometimes survival resulting in nursing home neglect.

One of the best ways to combat elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home is to remain as involved as possible with your loved one's care long after they have unpacked their bags. Experts suggest that frequent visits, becoming acquainted with nursing home staff, other residents, and even members of their families sends a clear message that your loved one is being looked out for. By getting to know other families, you can keep an eye out for each other's family and keep staff even more on their toes.

Keep an eye out for bruises or sores, an increased level of illness, or excessive thirst or weight loss. Visit at various times of the day, and take plenty of pictures and video to document the general level of care. With luck, you'll never find any major concerns, but with wrongful death cases occurring far too often in nursing homes it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Source:, "Your Legal Corner: Maximizing nursing home safety," Victoria M. Dalton, Esq., Oct. 7, 2012

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