Nursing home checklist: Keeping your loved ones safe?

Posted at: 02/28/2013 12:01 AM
By: Lynette Adams

Is there anything you can do to protect your loved one before you move them into a long-term facility or once they're in one?

News10NBC is asking this question in light of the accusations against a former nurse's aid charged with endangering the welfare of an elderly woman.

According to investigators video from the Park Ridge Living Center shows an elderly woman throw napkins at an aid back in early November. Then officials say it shows the aid, Groven Glenn, throwing a chicken bone at the 83-year-old and pushing her wheelchair hard into a door. 

The Attorney General says it was the facility itself that reported this incident and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid rate it one of the best in the country.

“Well I'm very delighted to let you know that we are a five-star living center,” said Patricia Rubien, the Vice President and Administrator Park Ridge Living Center.

It is a source of pride for the people who work at Park Ridge Living Center. It's like the hotel rating system. Five stars is the highest rating. That rating is given by the Medicaid and Medicare website.

Rubien says that website should be the first step if you are looking for a facility for a loved one.

“You can actually look up any living center in the nation and what their last three Department of Health Inspections look like, what their staff looks like, and probably most importantly, what their quality measures look like,” said Rubien.

Park Ridge Living Center is a skilled nursing facility. About 80 residents live there in the four cottages on the Unity Campus in Greece.

Rubien says this cottage configuration is the only one in the state. It provides a homey atmosphere where she says residents help with chores like choosing and cooking the meals and laundry.

She says your next step should be to take a visit.

“You can ask all about quality, but I think it's so very valuable just to take a look at what the elders are doing, do they look engaged in their environment, are the staff engaged with the elders, are their families feeling comfortable with the living center,” Rubien said.

News10NBC also wanted to know about hiring practices and staff background checks.

“There is the very standard type of background check that most employers would do. as far as experience and training. But also the government and healthcare has new regulations and they kind of dictate what does that criminal background check looks like,” said Rubien.

The most recent figures compiled by Lifespan, an advocacy agency for the elderly show every year about 260,000 elderly New Yorkers are abused. Less than one-percent of that abuse happens in a living center.

Lifespan President and CEO Anne Marie Cook says you can protect your loved ones by not only visiting, but talking to the people who live there.

“Look around, talk to staff, make sure your eyes are always open,” said Cook.

News10NBC didn't ask Rubien any questions about the specific case involving Glenn. Unity Hospital will not comment on this case.