Visiting a nursing home requires observation and communication

Visiting a nursing home is not an easy thing to do. The truth is, one visit can have huge implications for someone you love. You can learn so much just by spending a little time at a home, talking with staff and absorbing the atmosphere.

When visiting a nursing home, you should have a sharp eye and be very observant for anything that stands out — good or bad.

When visiting a nursing home, what should I look for?

When you’re visiting a nursing home, you want to gauge the morale of residents and staff, but most importantly, you want to know about one word: care. How are residents cared for? What’s the quality of care? Do employees truly care about the residents or are they just doing their job? This is really the best way to help you choose.
Let’s face it. It is difficult to care for our own loved ones, who may have enormous needs and medical problems. It takes a special person to be able to care for the elderly on a daily basis. Look at staff members. Do they seem like they really care about the patients; or are they just collecting a paycheck and doing a job?

These are all important questions to ask yourself during your visit. It may help to bring a pen and a pad. Ideally, you’ll gather tons of information that you can’t possibly remember, so write everything down so you don’t forget. A checklist is one way to approach note-taking. We suggest you go to, which has a great nursing home checklist.

What else should I do when visiting a nursing home?

We’ve discussed observing the care that residents get when you’re visiting a nursing home. Observing is just step one. Step two? Talk. Communicate. Talk to the employees. But most importantly, LISTEN to what they say. Do they refer to the residents by name, or call them “clients and patients.” Spend time with residents as well. Ask employees to introduce you to residents.

Here’s an even better idea: Talk to other visitors — families who have residents there. Call in advance to find out when visitors are most likely to be there, and then talk to them. Exchange e-mail addresses and get the real scoop. Ask them what they think of the place. Ask them about the care their relatives are getting.

Although this may be tough, you should bring your loved one if possible. They may be reluctant to interact or even go to the home, but you can learn by watching how the staff treats them on the visit to the nursing home. If possible, let your loved one engage with other residents. Watch staff interact with him or her. See what happens.
This step is crucial. Many nursing homes are businesses that want your Medicaid and Medicare dollars, so if you don’t look carefully and find the right home, your may increase the chances of your loved one becoming a victim of nursing home abuse, neglect or exploitation.

If such a case should arise, though we hope it never does, please contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. At the Mininno Law Office, our certified civil trial lawyers are experienced with these cases and would be happy to help you. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

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