Moving your loved one into a nursing home was probably a decision you didn’t make lightly. Your loved one may have opposed it, and you may have explored every alternative before deciding it was the only way to keep them safe.
Unfortunately, for a small portion of the people who go into nursing homes, neglect and abuse will be their experience rather than care and diligent support. You may have done your best to investigate and find a safe and trusted nursing home, but your loved one could still endure inadequate care or neglect.
If you spot any of the three signs of neglect below, that could be a reason to speak up on behalf of your aging loved one.
Bedsores, especially if they become severe
Pressure ulcers or bedsores have a strong association with sedentary lifestyles. Older adults who can no longer get out of their favorite chairs or their beds without support are at much higher risk than the average person to develop bedsores.
These wounds are a well-known risk, and nursing homes can prevent their development with the frequent rotation of bedridden residents and the proper use of cushioning for high-risk body parts. Staff should also inspect people for signs of bedsores and prevent any they find from developing into a worse injury.
Infestations left unchecked
When you have a large number of people living in close proximity, especially if those people don’t prioritize hygiene or cannot care for themselves, pests are a real concern.
Lice, scabies and bed bugs could all make older adults miserable and spread quickly through a facility without appropriate cleanliness practices in place. If your loved one experiences an infestation, especially if it goes untreated, that could be a sign of neglect at the facility.
Serious falls, especially due to understaffing
Worry about your loved one falling may have been one of the top reasons that you decided to move them into a nursing home. Unfortunately, if the facility doesn’t have enough people on staff, residents won’t have the support they need to make it to the lunchroom or take a trip to the bathroom.
An older adult trying to handle their daily needs without staff support could fall and suffer serious injuries. Especially if your loved one has had to endure repeated falls or if their falls are the result of help requests that went ignored, your loved one’s recent injury could be a warning sign of inadequate care at their facility.
Identifying and taking steps to address major warning signs of nursing home neglect can help you protect a loved one too vulnerable to advocate for themselves.