Putting your loved one into a residential care facility such as a nursing home can be a very difficult decision. You will worry about social isolation and the potential for physical or financial abuse, as well as neglect by caregivers.
You may do research to try to find a facility that has excellent ratings and happy residents, but no amount of research will guarantee that your loved one won’t encounter neglectful or simply overworked staff while living in a nursing home. Knowing some of the major warning signs of neglect can help you understand if you need to take action to protect your loved one.
When you visit your loved one, both the person you visit and the other residents you encounter should be clean and attended to. The rooms, including shared spaces and private rooms, should be in clean, habitable condition.
Spoiled food, unwashed clothing or filth should not be visible anywhere. Issues such as vermin or parasites like lice or scabies, as well as greasy hair or stained clothing, may all be warning signs that your loved one isn’t getting the care they need.
It is common for mobility issues to lead to someone living in a nursing home. When an older adult can no longer get themselves out of bed or change their clothes safely without falling or if they simply lack the physical strength or ability to do so, their loved ones may no longer be able to provide adequate care for them or allow them to live alone.
Mobility issues often mean that an older adult will spend most, if not all, of their time in a comfortable chair or their bed. However, that doesn’t mean that it is inevitable for them to develop bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers.
Between assistive technology and modern phone support, there are many ways for staff to reposition your loved one to avoid constant pressure on the same places on the body. Inadequate attention and a lack of investment in cushioning or supplies could result in pressure sores, which can grow worse over time and leave your loved one vulnerable to infection.
It is possible that your loved one wants to go home and doesn’t understand your reasoning for placing them in a nursing home. Older adults may attempt to put pressure on their loved ones to take them out of the nursing home facility. They might even exaggerate their experiences or lie about mistreatment from the staff.
Still, even if you think there’s a possibility your loved one isn’t telling the truth, you owe it to them and your own peace of mind to look into any complaint they make about the quality of their care or the conditions they experience when you aren’t there to monitor the environment.