Older adults often move into nursing homes because independent living is dangerous for them. Maybe they have fallen before, meaning their risk of falling again in the future is high. Perhaps they have developed Alzheimer’s disease or show signs of cognitive decline, and your family can’t provide them with the around-the-clock monitoring they need for their safety.
You expect that the staff in the nursing home would treat your loved one with dignity and compassion. Unfortunately, some people experience the exact opposite in the last years of their lives. Keeping a close eye out for signs of abuse and neglect when touring facilities or visiting your loved one can help you protect them.
Watch out for dirty spaces and unkempt residents
Cleanliness is important for the overall health of people, as well as their safety while moving through a space. Dirty floors increase someone’s risk of a fall. Inadequate support when someone needs to clean or groom themselves might mean that they try to do something alone and then get hurt.
If you notice dirty facilities or residents at a nursing home, that could be a warning sign that there aren’t enough staff members to meet the needs of the people living there.
Don’t ignore preventable medical issues
Although people associate bedsores with nursing homes, an adequate standard of care will prevent almost all bedsores from occurring.
Even if your loved one does develop a minor bedsore, staff members should aggressively support them so that the bedsore doesn’t progress to a worse state. Similarly, falls because your loved one didn’t receive staff support to go to the bathroom or lice infestations are warning signs that the care standard at a facility is not adequate.
Staff members won’t leave you alone with your loved one
Perhaps the biggest warning sign that something isn’t right at a nursing home is when staff members hover whenever you visit. They might pull you aside and tell you that your loved one has started fabricating wild stories to make you question any complaints that your loved one brings up. By staying in the room with you, staff members may hope to deter your loved one from speaking up about abuse or neglect that they have endured.
Spotting warning signs of improper nursing home care can help you push for improvement or hold the facility accountable for the damage they caused your vulnerable loved one.