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Six questions to ask if a loved one is in a nursing home

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By Mike Festa, State Director, AARP Massachusetts

 

If you have a spouse, sibling, parent or other loved one in a nursing home, you may be worried about their safety and well-being because of the coronavirus pandemic. AARP consulted with top experts to develop these six key questions to ask the nursing home.

Has anyone in the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19?

This includes residents, as well as staff or vendors, who may have been in the nursing home.

What is the nursing home doing to prevent infections?

How are nursing home staff members being screened for COVID-19, especially when they leave and reenter the home? What precautions are in place for residents who are not in private rooms? Does nursing home staff have the personal protective equipment (PPE)—like masks, face shields, gowns, gloves—that they need to stay safe and keep their patients safe? Has nursing home staff been given specific training on how to use this personal protective equipment? If not, what is the plan to obtain PPE?

What is the nursing home doing to help residents stay connected with their families or other loved ones during this time?

Does the nursing home help residents call their loved ones by phone or video call? Will the nursing home set up a regular schedule for you to speak with your loved one?

What is the plan for the nursing home to communicate important information to residents and families on a regular basis?

Will the nursing home be contacting you by phone or email, and when?

Is the nursing home currently at full staffing levels for nurses, aides and other workers?

What is the plan to make sure the needs of nursing home residents are met—bathing, meals, medication management, social engagement— if the nursing home has staffing shortages?

Massachusetts has established a hotline to help families get information about their loved ones’ care at nursing homes, which have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re concerned about the safety and well-being of a spouse, parent or other loved one who lives in a nursing home, call the family resource number at 617-660-5399.

 

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