It can be a profoundly humbling experience to realize that you are not in a position to provide the support that an aging loved one needs. Whether you simply have too many demands from your children and your career or your loved one’s worsening medical condition demands intensive support, you may look into a professional care environment for their well-being.
Unfortunately, not every nursing home will provide the same standard of care. At some facilities, neglect or even outright abuse can lead to injury and illness among residents. Whether you are visiting a nursing home for the first time to see if it would be a good fit for your family or you are on your way for your biweekly visit, there are some warning signs to watch for when in a nursing home.
1. An inability to interact with staff members
When you stop in to see your loved one, you should see staff members taking care of residents and even greeting you as you enter the facility.
If staff members are seemingly never present or never have more than a few seconds to grant to you, those are warning signs that there aren’t enough people on the premises to provide support for everyone living there and that those who are there may be very overworked. Inadequate staffing is a serious concern, as it often leads to negligence in patient care and unmet needs.
2. Unclean spaces and unkempt residents
Overt filth in a nursing home is dangerous. Not only does it put people at risk of illness and injury, but it is also an indication that the staff members are not doing an adequate job.
Whether there is an overflowing trash bin in the common rooms every time you visit or residents with tangled hair and filthy clothing, spotting signs of inadequate cleanliness and personal hygiene assistance could be a sign that your loved one isn’t getting the care they require.
3. Anxious or avoidant residents
Abuse by nursing home staff can cause serious mental health issues in the people living at the facility. Certainly, there are will be some adults in certain facilities who just have standoffish personalities or who already had a trauma history when entering the facility.
However, when you consistently see multiple people avoiding eye contact, constantly checking their surroundings for others or acting anxious in the nursing home, that may be a sign that one or more of the staff members actively mistreats those people. A similar but slightly different concern involves staff members refusing to leave you alone with your loved one when you come for a visit, possibly to deter them from speaking up about something.
Looking more carefully at the situation is often required if you notice warning signs that seem to indicate some degree of nursing ho me abuse.