Sometimes knowing the right questions is as important as finding out the answers.

Frequently asked questions & answers

Q. How can I tell if abuse has occurred?

A. You must examine your loved one carefully when you visit. Look for evidence of scratches, scars, bruises, etc. If a bone has been broken, carefully investigate the cause. Don’t just talk to your friend or relative. Talk to the staff, other residents, and obtain as much information as possible.

Q. How can I tell if neglect has occurred?

A. You must be diligent in examining your loved one and his or her surroundings when you visit. Make note of your loved one’s moods. Is this a once happy person who is now miserable every time you visit? Is this a person who was once very talkative who now just sits without speaking? Take note of the surroundings-do you smell urine and/or feces? Are your loved one’s clothes clean? Is he or she losing weight? These can all be signs that something is amiss in the care being provided.

Q. How can I find out what the state says about a particular nursing home?

A. Medicare regulations require that nursing homes keep the latest state survey available for review. Don’t let the staff tell you that they don’t have it or it has been misplaced. They must have the survey available and they are required to show it to you.

Q. How do I know which nursing home is best for my loved one?

A. Please refer to our section on this site entitled “Choosing a Nursing Home” for extensive advice on this subject.

Q. How can I tell if the medical staff is qualified and will actually take an interest in my loved one?

A. Ask whether the nurses are members of the Service Employees International Union. Members of this union are well trained to provide high quality care. Also, sit or stand near the nursing station for an hour or so and pay attention to the nurses. Do they interact with the patients, touch them, ask them questions and seem to take an interest in them? Or do they shy away from contact with the patients, sit at their station talking and eating among themselves?