Life in a nursing home isn’t glamorous or particularly exciting, but it should be safe. The whole reason your family moved a loved one into a nursing home is probably because they required more care than you could provide. You wanted to make sure there were people to help them get to the bathroom or take medication on time.
Sadly, some older adults in nursing homes will not have their needs appropriately met by the professional caregivers tasked with supporting them as they age. Some people endure intentional abuse, but many others are subject to neglect, either due to incompetence or understaffing.
Knowing some of the warning signs of nursing home neglect will make it easier for you to stand up for your loved one.
Messy people and spaces
Keeping a nursing home facility and its residents clean is the most basic requirement for the health and safety of the residents. Dirty spaces lend themselves to infestations of pests like lice or rodents. If individual rooms or public spaces are dirty, that’s a sign that there aren’t enough staff members to handle the upkeep.
Residents with dirty clothes, greasy skin or unwashed hair probably are not getting the care they need from the staff at the facility. You should check not just your loved one but also other residents and communal spaces for signs of inadequate maintenance and care.
Sudden changes in behavior and personality
If vulnerable older adults don’t have their needs met, they may become depressed, aggressive or withdrawn. They may make exaggerated claims against the staff in the hope of drawing your attention to the inadequate standard of care. Instead of dismissing their complaint, you may want to explore the situation, possibly by talking with other residents.
Injuries, falls or worsening illnesses
Older adults not getting the care they need might try to walk to the bathroom on their own or dress themselves, resulting in their suffering serious injuries. If there aren’t clear explanations for how they acquired bruises and broken bones or if they have fallen while at the nursing home, neglect may have played a role in the injury.
Identifying nursing home neglect early could help you protect your loved one or move them to a safer facility.