Checking Out Memory Care Facilities? These Key Tips Could Help

Posted by PKSD New Mexico Law Firm on May 28, 2024 in Nursing Home Neglect

wheelchair left in empty memory care hallwayWhen you need to find a memory care facility, it can be difficult to know what to look for or where to start. How can you know if a place you are looking at will take good care of your loved one? Attorney Jeff Pitman shares some key tips on what to look for and factors that are glaring red flags.

At PKSD New Mexico, our legal team represents victims injured in nursing home facilities, often due to understaffing or poorly trained, careless or abusive caregivers.

Our firm has a long history of fighting for our clients and getting results. This experience has also given us a lot of insight about what to look for and what to avoid when searching for a memory care facility.

Why Take the Long Tour When Searching for a Memory Care Facility

Looking for a memory care facility is often an extremely emotional task. Whether you are searching for yourself or a loved one, the decision is never easy. The news is full of articles revealing facilities with a history of ongoing issues, like staffing shortages, and serious violations where things have gone badly wrong.

So why take the scenic route when searching for a facility? Taking the long tour gives you the opportunity to see every area of your loved one’s potential new home. You have a right to ask questions, get answers and check out everything the facility claims to offer.

What Key Areas Should You View?

Check out all of the areas where your loved one will be spending time. How much of a facility should you expect to see? Here are a few of the areas that should be included on your tour:

  • Resident bedrooms or apartments
  • Kitchen
  • Dining areas
  • Common rooms where activities take place
  • Bathing facilities
  • Memory care unit
  • Walkways
  • Outdoor areas

In short, you want to check all the areas where your loved one would be spending time or doing activities.

What Are Some Red Flags in a Memory Care Facility?

No matter what type of nursing home you are looking for, there are key things to consider. You want a facility with a good reputation; one that does not have a history of residents wandering off the property. You also do not want a facility that is on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Special Focus List (SSF). Facilities on the SSF list are among the worst-ranked in the country. However, even some highly-rated facilities have managed to hide some red flags.

Here are some things to look for:

Clean Private Rooms and Common Areas

Check out resident rooms to see if they are clean and well-kept. Tour the kitchen and all the common areas, including the dining rooms and any other areas where the facility hosts activities for residents.

Examine hallways to see if they are free of clutter and other hazards that could cause residents to trip and fall. Some other common issues to look for during your tour:

  • Are there torn carpets that residents could trip over? How about uneven tiles?
  • Does the facility, including in private rooms, look and smell clean?

Check Kitchen and Dining Areas

  • Does the kitchen area, including where food is cooked, look clean?
  • Is there any trash lying about or food sitting out uncovered on counters?
  • Observe staff to see if they regularly wash their hands before handling food

Tour the Memory Care Unit

  • Is the memory care unit secure and separate from other residents?
  • Do memory care residents have their own dining areas?
  • Are the doors secure for memory care residents or can they easily wander out and off the property?

Memory care residents need a secure area to make sure they cannot wander out of the facility. Memory care residents that manage to leave the property unattended could end up getting injured or worse.

Vickie Sands, who is a former director of patient care at Pacifica Living Center, a facility in Santa Fe, has some tips for families as well. She encourages families to look at and fully tour several facilities. Pitman agrees, saying about families, “They want to see everything that is offered by the facility.”

In a Santa Fe news article, the daughter of an 86-year-old Alzheimer’s resident discovered something very disturbing during a visit to her mother. She found her mother outside standing next to a road by the facility’s sign.

Other Factors To Consider When Searching for a Long-Term Care Facility?

In addition to checking out all of the areas in a memory care facility you are considering, be sure to check out the staffing situation as well. Do residents seem at ease around the staff? Are there enough staff on hand to properly care for residents? Ask administrators about their daily average staffing ratio. If they are consistently understaffed or the facility seems dirty or not secure, you should keep looking.

Need Legal Help for an Injured Memory Care Resident? Call PKSD Today

At PKSD, we have a deep commitment to protecting the elderly in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Call our law offices day or night to request a free initial consultation. You do not have to come to our offices in person to have this meeting. We can do it by phone or through secure video conferencing.

Your initial case review is completely free. Since we take nursing home abuse or neglect cases on contingency, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay. We do not get paid unless you do.

Our nursing home abuse attorneys in Santa Fe have extensive experience and a history of success – we have recovered millions for our clients. Call today to find out if you may have legal options. We currently accept cases in New Mexico, Wisconsin and Iowa.

PKSD in New Mexico. Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. 505-677-7777

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