Trusting a nursing home to care for your aging loved one is a significant leap of faith. These facilities should provide a safe environment where elderly individuals receive the care and respect that they deserve. Unfortunately, they are not infallible. Sometimes mistreatment, abuse or neglect occurs.
When you place a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to understand the common signs of abuse and neglect so you can protect their interests.
1. Emotional changes
One of the earliest indications of neglect or abuse in a nursing home environment is emotional changes in your loved one. If your family member becomes withdrawn, anxious or depressed, that could indicate mistreatment.
2. Unexplained injuries
If you notice new and unexplained injuries each time you visit your loved one, including bruises, cuts and even bedsores, ask both your family member and the staff for an explanation. Sometimes, injuries like these result from improper restraints, rough patient care and deliberate neglect. If the explanation you receive seems questionable, push for further details.
3. Poor hygiene
Hygiene care is often overlooked in neglectful nursing home environments. When your loved one seems dirty frequently when you visit or they exhibit bedsores and soiled clothing, that often indicates a lack of adequate care.
4. Overlooked medical needs
When you notice that your loved one is missing medications, treatments or appointments, that is cause for concern. This is even more important if your family member seems dismissed or ignored when expressing medical concerns. Remember that medical care is a crucial part of the nursing home environment and it should be responsive and appropriate.
5. Social isolation
Isolation from friends, family and social events also indicate neglect. When the facility denies visitation or keeps your loved one out of communal activities, you should address it right away.
A study reported by the World Health Organization indicates that more than 60% of nursing home staff admits to abusive behavior. This prevalence is why you should remain attentive to any warning signs of abuse or neglect.