Nursing homes exist in no small part to provide medical support and to facilitate a safe and fulfilling daily experience for older adults. The family members of aging adults may not have the free time or patience to provide the care that someone with limited mobility or issues with cognitive decline may require.
Having that loved one move to a facility where they will receive around-the-clock monitoring and support can seem like the safest choice. Unfortunately, not every care facility provides the people who live there with the basic support they need, let alone enrichment to make daily life pleasant.
What are some of the key warning signs of neglect that could compromise your loved one’s safety at a nursing home?
Dirty clothing, unshaved faces or greasy hair
When you visit your loved one, they should look as though they have had their basic needs met. You should not discover them with unkempt clothing and hair and obviously soiled bed sheets.
The messier an individual and/or their living space are, the more likely it is that staff do not attend to their needs in a reasonable and timely manner. Cleanliness is key to safety and health for those in nursing homes, and cleaning both people and spaces may be among the first responsibilities to go unattended when there isn’t sufficient staff.
Bedsores, especially if they develop infections
Some older adults are more prone than others to develop bedsores. They may lead a more sedentary lifestyle because of medical and/or mobility issues and may already have a compromised immune system. However, bedsores are largely preventable with proper cushioning, frequent rotation and other forms of support nursing homes can easily provide.
If your loved one develops a bedsore, especially if it progresses beyond the early stages or leads to a significant infection, their condition could be a sign staff members have not paid proper attention to them.
Injuries from falls
Falls are a constant risk for older adults and may actually be one of the reasons you wanted your loved one in a nursing home. You can’t be home every day to help them go to the bathroom or get dressed as they need, but nursing home staff should be available to help with those tasks.
Unfortunately, if staff members aren’t attentive to your loved one, they might try to manage certain matters on their own and fall as a result. Falls can lead to broken bones and injuries that permanently diminish your loved one’s quality of life.
Recognizing the warning signs of nursing home neglect could help you take action to protect your loved one and also hold the facility accountable for providing substandard care.