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10 signs of nursing home neglect and abuse

Putting your parent into a nursing home isn't an easy decision. You understand that your parent needs more care than you can provide, but you still wish that there were another way to for mom or dad to get it. Making sure you choose the best option for your parent is a priority. When you are visiting facilities, think about these 10 signs of nursing home abuse and neglect so that you can avoid homes in which you notice these conditions.

1: Dirty or unsanitary conditions

Nursing home cleanliness is important since many residents live in one small area. You should notice that the facility smells clean. It shouldn't smell like urine, feces or filth. Don't pay attention only in the lobby and public areas. Take note of how the halls near the rooms smell. Staff members might neglect the rooms and focus on the public spaces.

2: Residents aren't dressed appropriately

Nursing home residents might need help getting dressed. Staff members should ensure residents dress for the current conditions. If the home is cool, the residents should have on clothing that keeps them comfortable. If residents are outside during the cooler evenings or winter months, they should have on jackets or coats.

3: State of disrepair

Broken items in the facility, especially safety devices, are a sign that something is amiss. Look at the handrails, shower rails, assistive toilet devices, call buttons, furniture, flooring and doors to ensure they are all in good condition.

4: Residents seem isolated

Residents should interact freely with each other. If they seem like they are scared to talk to you or each other, that could be a sign of abuse or neglect. It might signal early stages of dementia, so evaluate the situation carefully.

5: Lack of support

Lack of support services, such as occupational therapy or toileting help, might signal that the facility isn't interested in helping the residents. If your parent needs help, this home might not be ideal.

6: Crying, screaming or unhappy residents

Some noise is understandable at nursing homes. You shouldn't hear residents constantly screaming, crying or acting agitated unless the resident has a valid medical reason for the actions.

7: Unappealing meal offerings

You likely won't find gourmet meals at nursing homes. However, the food should be identifiable and at the appropriate temperature.

8: Lack of scheduled activities

Nursing home residents need to stay busy. A full activity schedule gives residents options to help them stay active. A facility without any activities won't help the residents to live an enriched life.

9: Too few staff members

Each nursing home facility needs to have enough staff members to keep residents safe. Find out the staff-to-resident ratio on the weekends, weekdays and nights. Nursing homes offering intense care options need more staff members than basic assisted living homes. Understaffing is a big issue in nursing homes.

10: Lacking visitors

Nursing homes are usually busy places. Family members enjoy seeing their loved ones. You should notice visitors coming in and out to see their loved ones. The home should encourage family members to visit. Having a harsh visitation policy signals a possible issue.

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