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What to Look for With Nursing Home Security

Written by NHAbuseGuide on July 28, 2015

What to Look for With Nursing Home Security

Many people who decide to move to a nursing home or long-term care facility breathe a sigh of relief that they no longer need to worry about “security”. After all, sleepless nights thinking that a burglar is going to enter through a window or door, or that harm may come to them without anyone hearing calls for help, all come to an end when you enter a nursing home environment.

Unfortunately, the need for security still exists. Consider some of the issues that may put a resident’s security at risk:

  • There are cases of fellow residents abusing or assaulting others.
  • There are cases of workers harming, robbing, or abusing residents.
  • There are issues relating to the safety and security of living spaces.
  • There are issues related to the security of personal belongings.
  • There are general safety issues (fire evacuation, infection control, and so on).

Before you get overwhelmed by the idea of so many issues to consider, know that you can use a few simple questions, observations, and online resources to discover honest and accurate answers.

Nursing Home Compare Data

If you have Internet access, use the Medicare.gov website called “Nursing Home Compare”. It lets you find any Medicare or Medicaid approved nursing home’s performance data. Using a series of five stars it ranks everything from staffing to health and safety issues. It provides details about fines or reports issued against a facility, and it can alert you to some of the biggest security threats.

For example, an inspection done by the regulators may reveal that the facility is not using proper hiring procedures to ensure that people with histories of violence or abuse towards the elderly or disabled are not accepted and put to work. This is a huge red flag that must not be ignored. Your state Department of Health may also have details about similar violations.

You can use a standard search engine to see if the facility appeared in the news headlines at any point in time, and get the details about any sort of crimes or problems that occurred on the premises.

Visual Inspection

You should also pay a visit to any nursing homes you are seriously considering for yourself or a loved one. Get a good sense of the overall cleanliness of the facility. Keeping in mind that infection is a huge problem in many nursing homes and that means it is a security issue for you or a loved one.

Check out the fire exits and all exterior entrances into the building. Are there alarms that will alert staff if a resident leaves? What about alarms triggered by someone illegally entering from outside?

Are there multiple doors that a resident will have to pass through before getting outside? What about security cameras in and around the property? Take the time to look at the ways someone can exit or enter the building, and determine if it is a secure property.

What about security within the rooms? Are there good locks on the windows? Can a resident enjoy the security of at least one closet or cabinet with a durable lock?

What about roommates? Does the resident get to choose a roommate? If not, what sort of security is available within the rooms themselves? Can you install a recording device? How often are room checks done?

Final Thoughts

As you can see, security is not all that complex, it merely takes some consideration and a bit of effort to ensure that all of the appropriate measures are in place. It is also important, if you have a loved one in a nursing home, to watch for any telltale signs of neglect, abuse, or fear. If they seem to change dramatically while in the nursing home, think of it as a warning sign and take steps to uncover the problem. Do not hesitate to get in touch with the administration, the authorities, and your lawyer if you think some sort of security risk is present.


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

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