Nursing home neglect and abuse is occurring at an alarming rate in the state of New Jersey. This neglect and abuse is to blame for most of the instances of bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, fractures, infections, as well as physical, emotional, and psychological trauma. Although these injuries are largely preventable, they persist because nursing homes are often understaffed and care providers are inadequately trained. This reality makes finding a nursing home that provides quality care challenging work. However, having a basic understanding of the substandard care presently found in nursing homes and employing the tips provided below will make it significantly easier for you to find the quality care your loved one needs and deserves.
Many nursing homes routinely fail to provide enough staff to meet the needs of the residents. Often residents wait long periods of time for even the most basic necessities. These delays can have horrific consequences. For instance, a significant delay in providing residents with food and water can quickly lead to life-threatening malnutrition and dehydration complications. Also, delays in repositioning of immobile residents can result in very painful wounds, severe infections, and amputations.
In addition to under staffing, nursing home personnel, particularly certified nursing aides, are often inadequately trained. CNAs have the most contact and provide the most care to the residents. However, administering quality care to frail elderly individuals is complicated. It can only be done properly after considerable training. Unfortunately, CNAs are overworked and underpaid. As a result, their turnover rate is high causing nursing homes to regularly scramble to train new employees. The unfortunate consequence is that residents are continuously left at risk of neglect and abuse.
The good news is that there are nursing homes within the State of New Jersey that are providing quality care to their residents but they have to be sought out. If you are considering placing a loved one in a nursing home, visit the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services web site. There you will find the DHSS report cards for nursing homes. Each year, the department conducts on-site inspections called "surveys", of all New Jersey nursing homes. State surveyors evaluate the quality of care and services provided, as well as the appropriateness of the facilities, building, equipment, staffing, policies, procedures, and finances. The surveys are a "snap shot" of the facilities' performance at that point in time.
If you find a nursing home that you believe will provide quality care, don't stop there. Go to the nursing home web site and read up on facility. Then visit the nursing home and meet with its administrator. Inquire about the staffing levels and turnover rates. While you are there make some observations: Do the residents appear to be well taken care of? Is the building well maintained? Do the residents appear active? Is the staff respectful to the residents? What do staff members think of their work? Ask the residents if they like the nursing home. The more time you take and the more questions you ask the better your chance of developing an accurate assessment of the facility.
Nursing homes should be a place where you can trust your loved ones' needs will be met and quality care administered. This is not always the case and in order to insure that it is for your loved one, it will be up to you to do the research and make certain the nursing home you choose provides quality care.