The decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home is a tough one for many reasons, from knowing how most seniors want to maintain as much of their independence as possible as they age to putting their care and well being into the hands of relative strangers. Add to that the danger of fires within a nursing home—knowing how difficult evacuating elderly residents can be—and the decision becomes even more fraught. Luckily, the National Fire Protection Association has put together some tips to help anyone facing this situation make the right choice when it comes to choosing a nursing home where your loved one will be safe in the event of a fire:
- Is the building well maintained? Make that paper and other storage items do not block doors or hallways needed for escape.
- Check to make sure there is an evacuation plan in place that involved all staff and is practiced regularly.
- Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exists, smoke detectors, and sprinklers?
- Check on the staff-to-patient ratio. How many staff per resident during the day and especially at night or on weekends and holidays? Is supervisory staff available to carryout an escape plan if there is a fire?
- Are there guidelines for people who smoke such as a separate room or staff supervision?
- Does nursing home management take your questions regarding safety seriously and are they forthcoming with information?
- Every facility should have written fire procedures that are understood and practiced by all staff. Staff should be responsible for knowing and carrying out their part of the plan. That includes doctors, nursing staff, kitchen staff, maintenance, volunteers, and others.
- Response procedures should be practiced regularly.
If you’ve decided to that, for the time being, a nursing home isn’t the right place for your elderly loved one and chosen to have them continue living independently in their home or apartment instead, you may want to consider installing a FireAvert in their kitchen. We have had so many customers tell us how grateful they are for the peace of mind they have knowing a FireAvert is installed in their loved one’s kitchen—preventing cooking fires from ever occurring while allowing them to preserve their independence at the same time. We’d love to help you and your elderly family members have that same freedom and assurance as you navigate the tough decisions surrounding senior care. It’s never easy, but knowing they’re safe from a cooking fire is one less thing to worry about.
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