When your loved one can no longer live independently due to age or disability, a nursing home can provide the care and security he or she needs.
All residential care facilities must follow federal and state guidelines to provide adequate care. If you have a loved one who has moved or is moving into a nursing home, pay attention to the precautions the facility is taking to keep your loved one safe.
Staffing and training
Understaffed facilities can be dangerous for residents. Many nursing home residents require hands-on assistance with daily tasks, and without proper attention, they may fall and injure themselves.
High staff turnover can lead to hasty or insufficient training and high stress levels among staff, creating a high-risk environment for potential mistakes.
Flooring and lighting
People with mobility issues need a safe environment in which to move about. Corridors must be well-lit and equipped with non-skid flooring to prevent accidents.
Handrails and grab bars
Nursing homes must have handrails on both sides of all corridors and in bathrooms. Facilities need to ensure that handrails are secure and mounting hardware does not interfere with the use of the rails.
Nursing home residents have diverse health care needs, and the staff has a responsibility to identify and mitigate health and safety risks. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has developed a system to help nursing homes identify residents who are most at risk for injuries and illnesses, such as falls, pressure sores and medical events.
When residential facilities adhere to legal requirements and take appropriate precautions, they can be safe, supportive places for people who can not live independently. When they fail to follow these procedures, they place residents at risk of injury.