• 11
  • June

As parents and loved ones age, families are faced with the tough decision of whether or not to place a loved one in a nursing home or rehabilitation center. Families often times wrestle with this decision. It can be difficult to request a facility to care for a family member for an extended period of time, especially because the loved one is typically not able to speak up and ensure that they receive the care they need, and family members are concerned that their care will be neglected.

Recent allegations of nursing home abuse at Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility have again highlighted the reason many families wrestle with this difficult decision. Several nurses have been charged with failing to properly care for a patient at the facility in Troy, New York. The allegations have been brought by the family of an unnamed resident of the facility who had multiple sclerosis and was unable to move. Investigators had installed cameras in the room of the woman to document the care that she was receiving.

Footage showed that nurses did not change the woman's position or treat her bedsores. Even though nurses at the facility were not properly caring for the woman, the nurses reported in their notes that indeed they had rotated the resident and treated her bedsores. This video footage is one piece of evidence that will likely be used in the trial against four nurses from Northwoods. Misdemeanor and felony charges including the falsification of records and endangering the welfare of an incapacitated or vulnerable person are pending.

So how can loved ones who need assistance in caring for their aging family members ensure this does not happen to them? When a loved one enters a nursing home facility family members must transition from a caregiver to advocate. Staying involved in the daily care of the loved one can help to prevent a lack of proper care and treatment.

It is also important to make sure that the family specifies the type of care the individual requires. Building a good relationship with the facility's nurses and staff can go a long way to ensuring that each one plays a role in properly caring for a loved one. This is a business relationship, but it requires a personal touch. Remember, if you feel your loved one is not receiving the care they need, it may be a good idea to start looking for another facility.

Source: "Jury selection on hold in nurses' trial," timesunion.com, 2/8/12