Placing your loved one in a nursing home is never an easy decision. When you do have to make that choice, you likely take great steps to ensure that your loved one is in a decent facility. You may have gone so far as to look at their safety record and review their best practices or standard of care rules.
Unfortunately, employees at nursing homes do not always comply with the standards set by the business itself. Chronic understaffing is an issue at many nursing homes. That may result in residents not receiving adequate care. When you visit your loved one at the nursing home, you should pay close attention to warning signs of understaffing. Documenting issues you notice as they arise can help ensure that your loved one receives a decent standard of care.
Look for subtle warning signs of potential issues
Neglect is often a hard-to-spot, insidious issue, with signs frequently more subtle than the signs of overt abuse. In order to keep your loved ones safe, you need to be vigilant in monitoring their circumstances. Always ask your loved one in the nursing home about how they get treated.
If they have complaints about waiting long times for staff or not receiving help for certain activities, such as getting to the bathroom or dressing when they need help, those could be red flags. You will want to address those issues with staff as quickly as possible. In some situations, your loved one will not complain about their treatment. Instead, you will have to look for signs of neglect.
These signs include unclean or messy rooms, your loved one looking dirty or slovenly, a strong smell or odor coming from the room or your loved one's body, and also the presence of bed sores or pressure ulcers. Adequate care will prevent almost all of these issues. While some smells can occur naturally, significant odor may be a sign that your loved one isn't receiving proper cleaning or care.
Although bed sores are frequently an issue for those who have restricted mobility, proper rotation and cushioning can prevent their development, in most cases. You should report any issue you notice to staff. You should also begin documenting any issues, with dates and times, to help ensure you have evidence if you need to take legal action.
Nursing home neglect can lead to a tragedy
When staff doesn't provide adequate care for residents in a nursing home, the outcome can be catastrophic. Your loved one could develop infections and bed sores that could claim their life. It's also possible for older adults to fall if they attempt to move around without proper assistance, leading to major broken bones and increased risk of mortality.
The only way your loved one will remain safe is if they have adequate care and attention while in a nursing home facility. You need to be your loved one's advocate. If they suffer injuries or worse as a result of neglect in a nursing home, you need to speak up on their behalf.