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Is Your Nursing Home Taking Necessary Steps To Ensure Patient Safety?
Nursing home care is an essential part of our healthcare system. Families need a safe, comfortable environment for elderly family members who may be unable to live independently or are in need of specialized care. Nursing homes (also called skilled nursing facilities) have a legal responsibility to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care, and to make patient safety is a top priority. So what measures should nursing homes take to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents?
Nursing Homes Must Ensure Adequate Staffing Levels
One key factor in providing proper nursing home safety is having enough staff members on hand to care for all of the nursing home’s residents. Research has shown that when staffing levels are low, patient safety is compromised. In order to ensure nursing home safety, skilled nursing facilities must maintain an adequate number of adequately trained and supervised nurses and aides at all times. This includes having enough staff members on each shift to ensure bed-bound patients are turned and repositioned adequately, and to monitor patients and respond quickly in emergency situations. You can ask your nursing home to provide you information about their staffing. You can also observe:
- Do call lights go unanswered?
- Is it hard to find staff members when you need them?
- Is fresh water provided?
- Are patients who need it regularly assisted with repositioning?
If so, your facility may be understaffed, putting the nursing home residents at risk of harm.
Nursing Homes Must Ensure Adequate Patient Supervision
Another important element of keeping nursing home residents safe is providing regular supervision. Staff members should be checking on each resident’s well-being throughout the day and making sure they are getting the medical attention they need. In addition, staff should be monitoring any changes in behavior or health status so that any issues can be addressed quickly. Again, if call lights go unanswered or staff are scarce this is a sign the facility is failing to provide adequate supervision and failing in their responsibility to provide proper nursing home safety care.
Nursing Homes Must Ensure Accurate and Timely Medication Administration
Most patients in skilled nursing facilities take one or more medications. When it comes to medication management, it’s essential that nursing home staff follow strict protocols to avoid potential medication errors or adverse drug interactions. All medications should be properly labeled and stored securely, and those who administer medications should double-check any prescriptions before administering them to residents. It’s also important for staff members to monitor residents’ reactions after taking medications so that any side effects can be identified immediately.
Nursing Homes Must Ensure Ongoing Quality Assessments
The best nursing homes are continuously assessing and improving the quality of their services in order to meet or exceed patient safety standards set by various state and federal regulations. This includes regular monitoring of staff, equipment, and other resources needed to provide safe and effective care for residents. Make sure you ask questions about how frequently assessments are conducted so you can make an informed decision about where to place your loved one’s care.
Nursing Homes Must Ensure Nursing Home Security Protocols
It’s also important to understand what kind of security protocols a nursing home has in place in order to ensure that residents are safe and secure at all times. Ask questions about who has access to residents’ rooms, whether or not there is always someone on-site at night, and what kind of cameras or alarms are used throughout the facility. These details can help you feel confident that your loved one will be safe from potential threats while they live in their new home away from home.
Ensuring high-quality nursing home care starts with ensuring adequate patient safety. The measures discussed above are critical to make sure their residents remain safe and healthy while under their care. Maintaining adequate staffing levels, providing proper supervision, managing medications correctly, conducting ongoing quality assessments, and ensuring security protocols are fundamental responsibilities of all nursing homes. Patients and families should expect and deserve no less.
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