What should be in a nursing home inspection?

Victims of nursing home neglect and abuse may take legal action under Ohio law. However, a short but thorough investigation before choosing a facility can help avoid nursing home negligence. An inspection of the grounds can be revealing. Determine whether the location is safe and secure and whether a loved one would feel content and safe sitting outside the buildings. Consider whether residents have nice sitting areas that are being used, whether the garbage dumpsters are reasonably clean and concealed and whether road noise is reasonable.

Determine whether there are handrails and non-skid floors. Walkways should be unobstructed and not have wheelchairs and other equipment that could cause a fall. The facility should also have a disaster plan and sufficient food, water and power if there is an extended emergency.

Inspections should also include a smell test to determine whether the facility is clean and well-ventilated or has an odor of urine, mustiness or cleaning chemicals. Listen to whether the facility has laughter, music, conversation or other sounds of calmness instead of silence or patients in distress.

Speaking with residents while they are alone or socializing with others is important. Ask whether they enjoy the food, living conditions, events for family members and their dealings with other residents and staff. Seek a description of their typical day and whether they feel engaged. A visit should also include a routine meal to determine whether the food is healthy, fresh and tasty.

Likewise, there should be conversations with family members and seek their opinions and suggestions on receiving quality care, and ask whether there are unreasonable regulations and if the staff is accommodating to different requests. Visitors should also ask staff about their jobs, their supervision and whether they know residents by their name. Questions should also cover turnover, because it impacts care and often reveals poor management. Another visit should also take place during off-hours. This can help observe the staff and the facility when the staff is in its normal routine and not overly conscience of an inspection.

An attorney can help residents and their families when a nursing home is not providing a reasonable standard of care. They can seek compensation and help assure that the facility is complying with the law and rendering proper care.

Source: AARP, "Inspect a nursing home like a pro," Gary Strauss, Accessed Jan. 30, 2018

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