Is your loved one struggling to live independently? Does he or she need help with daily activities, such as dressing, using the toilet, taking medication, or eating? If so, it may be time to consider a nursing home. However, this is a difficult decision that requires ample thought and consideration. The quality of care at the nursing home facility you choose may make the difference between a comfortable and safe place for your loved one or something that is anything but comfortable and safe. How do you know which facility to choose?
Medicare offers information about health inspections at facilities that are certified to accept Medicare and Medicaid residents. These inspections, as well as the quality of care criteria that is used to rate hospitals, is available to the public and is a valuable tool when researching facilities. The following information is about one facility in South Carolina and the most recent health inspections that have been performed at this facility. Read on for more information about National HealthCare Corporation’s Parklane facility and about how to best choose a nursing home.
Meanwhile, if NHC HealthCare Parklane abused or neglected you or your loved one, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm stand ready to help. We have fought NHC HealthCare Parklane over its treatment of patients and have won compensation for them. Call us now to see whether we can help you, too.
About NHC HealthCare Parklane
NHC Healthcare Parklane is a large, 180-bed nursing home facility located at 7601 Parklane Rd, Columbia, South Carolina. It is a part of the National HealthCare Corporation (NHC), which currently operates 75 skilled nursing centers, 24 assisted living communities, a behavioral health hospital, five retirement communities, and 25 homecare agencies. The facility is not part of a continuing care retirement community, and it is not located in a hospital.
NHC HealthCare Parklane offers services to short-stay residents, which includes those who need temporary (100 days or less) 24-hour skilled nursing care after hospitalization for a heart attack, stroke, or other condition, as well as long-term care residents.
Some of the services that the facility advertises include:
- Physician-directed protocols
- A specialized nutrition program
- A recreation specialist
- Management of most medical conditions, such as diabetes, the need for IV medication, wound care, psychological services, and pain management
- Different levels of care, depending on the needs of residents
- Comprehensive therapy services
- Daily assistance with personal living activities
The care of long-term residents at the facility only garnered a three-star rating, which is average. The long-term stay criteria used to establish this rating include:
- Number of hospitalizations per 1,000 long-stay resident days
- Number of outpatient emergency department visits
- Percentage of residents receiving an antipsychotic medication
- Percentage of residents experiencing one or more falls with injury
- Percentage of residents with pressure ulcers
- Percentage of residents with urinary tract infections
- Percentage of residents who have had a catheter inserted and left in their bladder
- Percentage of residents whose ability to move on their own has worsened
- Percentage of residents whose need for help with daily activities has increased
- Percentage of residents who received vaccinations for flu and pneumonia
- Percentage of residents who were physically restrained
- Percentage of residents who lose control of their bowels or bladder
- Percentage of residents who lose too much weight
- Percentage of residents who have symptoms of depression
- Percentage of residents on anti-anxiety or hypnotic medication
Don’t Rely Solely on Health Inspections
NHC HealthCare Parklane underwent health inspections, and while health inspections can give you an important glimpse as to what the government looks for regarding the care of residents, do not make this your only deciding factor when selecting a facility for your loved one. Even places with good inspection histories don’t always treat their residents well—often facilities know when the inspections will take place and clean up in time to present inspectors with an inaccurately rosy view of what takes place there.
The National Institute on Aging recommends the following steps when choosing a nursing home:
- Consider what is important to you and/or your loved one. Does your loved one require specific services geared for individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or some other type of condition? Does your family have a religious preference that you expect the facility to honor? Do you need a nursing home in a specific region or part of town to help you and other family members have frequent opportunities to visit? Are you seeking a placement at a facility where your loved one has friends who are already residents?
- Talk to family members, friends, or even your loved one’s health care providers about what you’re looking for in a nursing facility. Chances are, people you know have already made these considerations for their own loved ones and have some information or suggestions for you. They may even be able to provide reviews of some of the facilities in your area.
- Call the facilities you are considering. Be sure to ask them about the costs for their services and whether they have a waiting list.
- Schedule a visit to the facility, along with an interview with the facility director or nursing director. Some important features to look for when visiting include the Medicare/ Medicaid certification, handicap accessibility features, residents who look like they are well cared for, and warm interactions between staff members and residents.
- Be sure to ask questions. Some questions to ask may include how long the director and management-level staff have been working at the facility. You should also ask about any unusual odors, as well as questions about whether your loved one is permitted to choose when he or she wakes up or bathes; whether meals are served at a set time or if residents are permitted to eat whenever they wish; and whether there are multiple activities each week that the residents can choose to participate in. You should also ask to see the facility’s current inspection report and Medicare certification.
- Visit the facility again. Return unannounced, on a different day, and at a different time of day. This will enable you to see how the staff at the facility behaves when they’re not expecting your visit.
- Read your contract. Once you’ve selected the nursing home that you feel is right for your loved one, you will be provided with a contract to sign. Review this contract carefully with a lawyer and make sure you understand it before you sign it.
Warning Signs of Bad Nursing Home Care
How do families know whether their loved ones are receiving good nursing home care? It is sometimes hard to tell, particularly for those whose loved ones are no longer verbal or suffer dementia. However, some signs may indicate that the nursing home is not providing good care.
Nursing home abuse signs include:
- Your loved ones have experienced marked changes in their mental or physical condition. Do they seem less social than before? Have they stopped taking part in activities that they formerly enjoyed? Do they have unexplained bruises, pressure ulcers, or skin tears, particularly in areas not clearly visible, such as the back, hips, or legs? While these may be natural signs of progressive aging or illness, they may also be warning signs that your loved one is experiencing emotional or physical abuse at the facility.
- The staff won’t answer your questions. Yes, the staff members at a nursing home are busy. However, they should make time for your questions. Be wary of staff members who won’t answer your questions or are unwilling to talk with you about your loved one’s care.
- The staff members seem frantic or absent. Having inadequate staff to handle the needs of the residents is a major contributor to negligence and abuse in nursing homes. It can also be a sign that the facility has bad leadership. If everything seems chaotic when you visit, or if staff members appear frantic or as though they really don’t enjoy their jobs, these are warning signs that the care your loved one is receiving may be lacking.
- High staff turnover. People change jobs. New people come on, and longtime staff members leave. This is not unusual. However, if it seems as though the facility is constantly training new people and few of them know who your loved one is, this may be a sign of substandard care.
- Unanswered phones and nurse call lights that are not responded to. As previously mentioned, the staff members at a nursing facility are often busy. They should not be too busy, however, to answer the phone or to respond to the nurse call lights for residents. If you witness this, or if your loved one complains of it, consider what time of day it is, if there a shift change or a meal time taking place could explain the length of time it takes staff to respond. If it occurs frequently, it may signal inadequate staff to manage the activity of the facility and the needs of the residents.
- Your loved one is dehydrated or malnourished. One of the most frequent indicators of neglect in nursing homes is poor hydration for residents. This is another indication that the staffing levels at the facility are not where they should be. If your loved one has waited too long for a meal or is dehydrated when you visit, these conditions indicate a serious problem that must be addressed immediately.
- “This is just how we do things.” Status quo at a nursing facility is dangerous, as it indicates that there is little concern by the facility’s leadership about improving the quality of care received by the residents. Even in facilities that routinely receive health inspections indicating no concerns, there should be an effort for continuous improvement. If the facility has no planned improvements, it may be an indication that the leadership is not in tune with the needs of residents.
- Your loved one doesn’t like the individual providing care. Nursing home residents are as human as anyone else. They have people they like and people they don’t like. If your typically tolerant loved one states that he or she doesn’t want a certain staff member caring for him or her, however, this could be a sign of a deeper problem than simple personality preferences. Your loved one deserves to have a choice in who handles the elder’s care. Be aware that not everyone is going to say something about feeling uncomfortable, though, so watch for physical cues that your loved one may feel uncomfortable around a certain staff member, as well.
As noted, you must consider not only the notion of placing your loved one in a nursing facility, but also in what kind of facility and which facility. As with most things, the right solution for your family may not be the same as what is right for other families.
Call The Hughey Law Firm if NHC HealthCare Parklane Injured You or a Loved One
If your loved one was the victim of abuse or neglect in a South Carolina nursing home, contact us for more information about your legal options. We have litigated successfully against many nursing homes for the abuse and neglect of their patients, and secured many high-dollar verdicts and settlements against them—including NHC HealthCare Parklane. We would like to help you as well.
You can reach the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm at (843) 881-8644 or through our online contact page.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464