Tips to keep a loved one safe in a long-term care facility

A recent case out of Texas is calling attention to the need for family members to better ensure their loved ones are safe at long-term care facilities. The case involves an individual that gained access to long-term care units and allegedly murdered inhabitants. The prosecution states the individual would pose as a maintenance worker to gain access to the unit, smother the resident and then take jewelry and other valuable items.

The story provides an opportunity to review a nursing home you are using or considering for a loved one. Tips to help better ensure the facility is safe include:

  • Review the check-in procedure. The facility should have an established check-in procedure. This may include locking up the facility at certain hours. Much like a hospital has visiting hours, the facility may have a similar policy. Those who wish to stop in after these hours may have to use a keypad to gain entry or sign-in at a front desk. Although the process may seem like a hassle to visitors, it helps to better ensure the general public does not have free access to the facility at all hours of the day.
  • Discuss visitors with your loved one. If your loved one is mentally and physically capable to live in a facility that allows for a locked door, discuss when and how the loved one allows visitors access to their unit. It may seem like common sense, but remind your loved one to check the identity of the individual knocking on their door before allowing access.

Security measures will vary depending on the type of facility. Some residents will have more freedom while others require a higher level of care. Regardless of the type of facility, loved ones should be safe from harm. Those who find the nursing home or long-term care facility that meets their needs may be overwhelmed by the application process. An attorney experienced in this process can navigate the paperwork and deal with Medicaid on your behalf.

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