Nursing homes and assisted living facilities often become a consideration for families when an older family member requires more time or care than the younger generation has the ability to provide. For example, if one of your parents suffered a major fall that resulted in a broken bone, you may worry about them being home alone while you are at work.
In a nursing home, in theory, there should always be someone there to help your loved one when they need it and make sure that they are safe and healthy. Unfortunately, largely due to issues with inadequate staff as a way to keep costs low, some nursing homes may neglect the obligation of care that they have for their residents.
Familiarizing yourself with some of the warning signs of nursing home neglect can help you determine if your loved one is getting the care they deserve and pay for.
The staff is always busy and stressed out
Providing the kind of care that residents in a nursing home need isn’t an easy job, but that doesn’t mean that the professionals working in a nursing home should always seem frazzled or unavailable because they are so busy.
On the contrary, having someone readily available at the moment when a resident needs to suddenly go to the bathroom or requires help is very important to the standard of care available to residents. If you have a hard time getting a staff member to speak with you, imagine how much easier it will be for them to ignore your loved one, especially if they have mobility issues that prevent them from actively leaving their room to look for help.
Dirty residents and cluttered spaces warn of inadequate cleaning
Maintaining a clean residential care facility is an unending war of attrition. There will always be more dust and spills to take care of, no matter how proactive staff members are about cleaning. At some facilities, the never-ending task of cleaning winds up ignored by staff members who have to prioritize patient care above immediately necessary tasks.
If there aren’t enough staff members to make sure that everyone is clean and that their spaces are sanitary, there likely won’t be enough staff to take care of your loved one either.
Residents, including your loved one, complain about a lack of care
Older adults can resent the move into a nursing home. As a result, their family members may be reticent to believe their complaints, hoping that stories of neglect or mistreatment are exaggerations intended to make them feel bad.
Listening to the complaints of your loved one and other residents isn’t a futile exercise in venting. It may give you greater insight into what things look like when you aren’t around.
Other warning signs of nursing home neglect could include symptoms of bedsores on your loved one, the presence of an infestation such as scabies or lice, or obvious signs that your loved one hasn’t received care, food or personal hygiene assistance recently.