When New York City residents begin looking into which local nursing homes they should commit the care of their loved ones to, their primary concern is likely the potential of their family members or friends experiencing abuse at the hands of caretakers. Such concerns are well-founded, given that information shared by ABC News shows that abuse has been reported to occur in as many as 1 in 3 U.S. nursing homes. One might think that the way of avoiding facilities that have poor resident complaint records is simply to do a little bit of research. After all, such complaints must always be reported, right?
Statistics show that such an assumption is wrong. According to research information compiled by the National Council on Aging, only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported to the proper authorities. In the case of a nursing home, one might believe the property authority to be the facility’s administrator. However, it is the administrator that should be reporting violations to officials from the state Department of Health. If and when cases to go unreported, it may very well be due to the decision of an administrator to handle the matter internally.
Those who have loved ones entering nursing homes may help ensure that their family members and friends are protected by selecting facilities with strong, capable administrators. Some of the questions one should consider asking an administrator when researching facilities include:
- How long has he or she been in the role?
- What is his or her background?
- How long has he or she been licensed?
- Who handles administrative duties when he or she is unavailable?
- Does he or she belong to a professional organization or accrediting body?
Such questions can give one an idea of the standard an administrator has maintained or is held to.