After a tragic murder at a St. Louis area nursing home, attorney Christine A. Alsop provides advice on what you can do to keep your loved one safe at their nursing home.
Elder law expert Christine Alsop told 5 On Your Side that the federal government requires nursing homes put together a plan of care for any type of resident they accept, even residents who come in with a history of violence or mental illness. The assaults in Missouri have many things in common, including the fact that documenting and responding to residents’ conditions didn’t go according to that plan.
Christine Alsop, who owns The Elder & Disability Advocacy Firm, recommends that families start discussing their care plans well before it becomes necessary to put someone in a nursing home.
“A lot of times I see clients who have waited until the end and they’re now in crisis and they’ve been putting off the inevitable,” she said.
In Alsop’s experience, she said, nursing homes will tell families about the general characteristics and needs of their loved one’s roommate to ensure that they will get along. For more specific details about the roommate’s criminal history or diagnosis, the family can’t do much more than trust that the nursing home is managing the other resident according to their care plan: “A good nursing home is going to make sure that there’s a separation between the personalities. They’re going to know what personality is going to mesh with what personality.”
Alsop recommends that families visit nursing facilities unannounced to make sure they’re seeing the real conditions of residents’ care and, if possible, to talk to both residents and other visiting families. She said that any family member with concerns should be vocal about what they want changed and be willing to call police if they feel there is criminal activity happening.
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