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3 questions to ask a loved one in a nursing home

If your loved one is in a nursing home, you want to do what you can to look out for abuse and neglect. Naturally, though, you can't be there all the time. When you visit, you may want to ask questions to see if you spot any red flags. These could include:

1. Do you feel comfortable and safe?

If your loved one hesitates at all, that could be a red flag. That's when it can help to press for more. Why wasn't the response faster? There could be a more trivial reason, like simply not liking the furnishings, but it could be something more serious.

2. How long does the staff take when you use the call button?

You can't expect the staff to be there instantly, but reasonable response times should be reported. If the staff ignores calls or puts them off, that neglect could be catastrophic when there's a serious issue. If your loved one says it always takes a half an hour, for instance, that's a red flag.

3. Do you like the other residents and the staff?

Try to get a feel for how well your loved one is getting to know others. Of course, everyone is different. Your loved one may have no desire to meet or befriend others. However, if he or she is normally happy and friendly but then acts as if the staff and other residents are basically strangers, that could be a red flag.

Now, all of these may be explainable, so not getting the answers you hope for doesn't automatically mean abuse or neglect have taken place. But it's still important to know when it's time to dig a bit deeper and look into your legal options. These questions can help in that regard.

Source: US News, "How To Look Out for a Relative in a Nursing Home," Kurtis Hiatt, accessed March 08, 2017

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