You have to be very careful when you are searching for a residential facility for an older relative with mental problems. A large percentage of elderly people suffer with mental health problems ranging from depression to dementia yet many nursing homes are not equipped to help them.
You can determine if a facility is a nursing home or a mental health care home by asking a few simple questions. The answers you to get these questions can help you determine if the facility can actually deal with a person with mental health issues or not.
The first and most important question you should ask is does the facility have a geriatric psychiatrist or psychologist available to treat the patients. A geriatric psychiatrist or psychologist is a doctor who specializes in treating older persons with mental problems.
Such a physician can ensure that your loved one gets proper treatment for their problem. Make sure that if such experts are available they are regular visiting and examining the patients to see if their conditions have changed.
The next and most important question you need to ask is what will the facility do to keep your loved one safe? Don’t just take the mental health care home’s staff’s word for it, examine the facility yourself.
Make sure the windows and doors are locked so the patients can’t wander off. Make sure the grounds are secured by a fence to keep patients from walking off.
Most important of all check to see if somebody is regularly watching the patients and the entrances to the facilities to make sure nobody gets out. Make sure the staff monitors the doors and checks up on patients on a regular basis.
Ask what precautions are in place to keep the patients in the facility. Do they have TV cameras to monitor the grounds and the facility? Does somebody actually monitor the TV cameras?
Ask if they have a Wanderguard or other system to track people with dementia (memory loss). Such a system can help the facility locate a patient that wanders away.
Ask the staff to demonstrate system and show you how it works. Then look around and make sure the system is actually in use.
Finally make sure the facility is secure from the outside. There are some criminals who are so sleazy that they actually try to sneak into mental health care homes and take advantage of the people there. Check to see that measures such as locked doors, guards at the doors and TV cameras are in place to keep the bad guys out of the mental health care home.