When a loved one goes to live in a nursing home, family members often invest heavily in researching facilities to find someplace safe. However, nursing home facilities are only as good as the staff that they employ and their business practices. A new worker who resents their job responsibilities could drastically affect the quality of care that your loved one receives.
Although you only have a limited view of what occurs in the nursing home during your visit, it’s important that you watch out for warning signs of abuse and neglect. What should you pay close attention to during your next visit?
What your loved one says or doesn’t say
Sometimes, nursing home residents will outright tell their loved ones that they have been left in their room for hours with no access to the bathroom or have been physically mistreated by staff members. They may tell you that someone has hurt them or stolen from their room.
On the other hand, if they have drastically changed in personality and no longer speak openly with you or if nursing home staff members won’t leave you alone with your loved one, those are warning signs that they have potentially experienced misconduct.
When someone lays or sits for most of the day, they can develop wounds from the constant pressure of their body weight. These bedsores or pressure ulcers range from red inflamed skin to gaping wounds that damage the musculature and cause fatal infections.
Most bedsores are preventable with proper care. If you noticed your loved one has started to develop bedsores or if the bedsores they previously had have gotten worse rather than improved, they may not have received the care necessary to ensure their health and quality of life.
Unclaimed people or facilities
When you show up to visit your loved one without announcing, your surprise visit shouldn’t mean that you find them in clothes that they have been wearing for three days and matted hair. Spotting any residents who look plainly unkempt and unwashed is a warning sign that staff members are not properly providing for the residents.
Additionally, signs of maintenance and cleaning oversights are also warning signs. Is there dust accumulating on the shelves in the community room? Have you spotted mice in the halls or noticed lice on the residents? Lack of cleanliness can be a warning sign of inadequate care and understaffing.
Recognizing signs of nursing home neglect will make it easier to protect your loved one from an unsafe facility.