What to Look for With Nursing Home Bathrooms

Written by NHAbuseGuide on August 13, 2015

What to Look for With Nursing Home Bathrooms

When exploring options in nursing homes for yourself or a loved one, you will always want to make a detailed visit to the facilities in question. Spend time looking over the living spaces, the common areas, the dining room, and any outdoor spaces. Gauge what the staff is like and what the overall quality of life seems to be, and always give the resident’s room a very thorough exam.

This one space is where you or your loved one will spend a lot of time and you want it to be as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Whether they will have a room of their own or a shared living space, you’ll want to look for the many details that ensure they will be happy and content.

Of course, one of the most often overlooked aspects of a nursing home room is the bathroom. Most of us take for granted that these spaces will be acceptable or suitable to our needs or that of a loved one, however, it pays to make a sort of mental checklist of items to consider when you visit. These include:

  • Will the resident be able to choose when they use the bathroom?
  • Will they choose the time of day when they bathe?
  • Is there a space in their bathroom for bathing or is that done elsewhere?
  • Is the bathroom equipped with all of the necessary grab bars?
  • Is there an emergency call that is easy to reach – even if the individual has fallen?
  • Is there enough room so that a fall is less likely to result in major injury?
  • What sorts of fixtures are in the bathroom, and are they as up to date as they should be?
  • Is the lighting strong and suitable?
  • What sort of private or personal storage is available?
  • Will the resident have to share the sink?
  • How often is the bathroom going to be cleaned?
  • Is the bathroom equipped with a fan and appropriate aeration?

As you can see, the bathroom is a lot more complicated than you might have initially realized. It is a space that can make someone feel at home or one that becomes a sore spot. If a bathroom is in a shared room, be especially sure that you have considered all of the factors above, and also gauge what it will mean for you or a loved one to navigate to that bathroom.

After all, if you are going to have to walk through the room to reach the bathroom, will it become a problem? Will you hesitate to use the bathroom because you are fearful of disrupting others?

Paying a Visit

If you can visit a nursing home before you make your choice, you may want to give a lot of thought to the location of the bathroom in proximity to your living space. If you discover that it is lacking safety features or grab bars (which is unlikely) it is a time to look elsewhere.

Bathrooms, according to the HSA, have some of the greatest risks for injuries and harm. From slips, trips and falls, to ergonomic, chemical, and infectious risks, the bathrooms in nursing homes can be truly hazardous.

Spend time visiting a few different sites. Consider the overall design and quality of all living spaces, particularly the bathrooms, and seriously consider whether or not you can envision yourself comfortably using the bathroom for the years to come. If you choose a facility and discover that the bathrooms are not being kept in sanitary or safe conditions, do not hesitate to get in touch with the administration or your attorney, and take action to ensure your safety.

Source

HSA.ie. Bathroom. http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Your_Industry/Healthcare_Sector/Occupational_Hazards_in_Nursing_Homes/Nursing_Home_Hazards/Bathroom/

Medicare.gov. Nursing Home Checklist. https://www.medicare.gov/files/nursing-home-checklist.pdf

 

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