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5 signs of abuse or neglect in nursing homes

When you choose a nursing home for your loved one, you want to make sure it's as good as it can be. You go there several times in advance to take tours and to check on the condition of the building.

You make sure the staff seems visible throughout your visits and feel like everything looks good. What can you look out for, though, that will help you determine if this is a safe facility? What kinds of actions are red flags showing abuse or neglect?

1. Posting to social media without permission

No medical provider should post pictures of those in their care without a signed consent form to do so. Even if it's a positive post on social media, doing something without a patient's permission is a sign that the facility doesn't know the laws and could violate other privacy rights.

2. Not delivering medications on time

Not getting medications to a patient on time is a major problem. Patients need to take their medications on a schedule. Sticking to a schedule and making sure patients actually take their medications is a nurse's or aide's job. Failing to do this could easily lead to a malpractice lawsuit.

3. Discovering bedsores

Bedsores don't develop out of nowhere. They're caused by a person staying in the same spot for too long. Nurses and aides are supposed to work with patients who are immobile to make sure they move around regularly. Not doing so results in the pressure on their joints and skin that causes bedsores. These can lead to fatal infections.

4. Falls

Falls happen as people become older, less steady and more fragile. However, if an elderly person has a call button and uses it, the nurses on staff should quickly come to assist him or her. If the person is left for too long, he or she may try to get up on his or her own, leading to the risk for a fall.

5. Bad smells

To a degree, it's impossible to eliminate all smells from a nursing home. Some people can't control when they urinate, and for others, vomiting is a daily occurrence. What's most important is that the nursing home keeps up on cleanliness. If you notice extremely bad smells each time you visit, it's worth discussing your concerns with the nursing home director.

These are a few signs that the nursing home's staff isn't taking patient care seriously. Neglecting patients can lead to serious injuries or deaths, which is something no one should ever have to deal with.

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