Conditions in nursing homes continue to be a serious problem across the country. Besides sub-standard care and neglect shown to the patients, there have been incidents of deteriorating living areas. When it comes to neglect in nursing homes, it can be in the forms of hygiene, mobility or basic assistance with physical needs.
Residents at nursing homes may not be able to confront situations that are putting them in unfavorable or dangerous situations. Because of this, many cases of neglect can go unreported which makes it more difficult for conditions to change. Signs of neglect or abuse will vary and one instance may not be indicative of overall care. However, if you notice a pattern among any of the following, it could mean there is a larger problem.
Personal hygiene is lacking
Residents in nursing homes should expect staff to assist with basic needs such as getting dressed, bathing, nail clipping, hair combing and teeth brushing. Even if a resident had been doing one of these things on their own, it should be taken care of by staff once they notice it is not being done. Sometimes this lack of help with hygiene is due to a shortage of staff members or the staff on hand is not trained to perform these tasks.
Living conditions are unsanitary
It is a federal law that nursing homes must provide a comfortable and sanitary environment for the residents. The nursing home must also comply with state requirements for security and safety. The living conditions and upkeep of a nursing home can be one of the first indicators that there is neglect. You should be observant that your loved one has clean bedding, clothes and bathroom facilities. You should also notice how sanitary the kitchen is kept.
Physical look of residents and mobility
Dehydration or malnutrition can be evident in the physical condition of your loved one. There are estimates that have shown 20 percent of international nursing homes had residents suffering from a form of malnutrition. Moving around and getting proper exercise can also be challenging in a nursing home. Nursing homes should have walking programs or light workouts to maintain or improve muscles and circulation. Residents can experience deteriorating health and infections or even bed sores from lack of movement.
If you notice constant bruising, an unexplained broken bone or head injuries, these can all be signs that abuse is taking place. Many times, injuries happen when a resident is not getting the care they need and they try to do something for themselves. Falls in nursing homes are very common, but when it could have been prevented by getting assistance from staff, it can be an indicator of a larger problem.
Mental or psychological issues
Emotional issues can occur during episodes of abuse or neglect in elderly residents. Displaying fear or anger is usually prevalent during times of abuse. You may even notice your family member becoming distant and maybe even develop depression.
If you notice ongoing signs of any of the items mentioned above, your loved one might be in an unsafe nursing home. You should continue to monitor the situation and may want to look for assistance and additional information to confirm if your intuitions about a nursing home are valid.