Signs of Neglect: Visiting a Loved One in a Nursing Home

When a loved one is in a nursing home, keeping family members nearby and a constant presence in the nursing home is one of the best ways to ensure the resident’s safety and well being.  Whether you are visiting every day, or less often, keep the following in mind:

Regular Repositioning

Is the resident being turned and re-positioned regularly while in bed? This is especially important if the resident is bed bound and unable to turn themselves. A sign this important aspect of care is not being completed appropriately include the presence of reddened areas on bony prominences such as heels and buttocks areas.

Proper Hydration

Is the resident properly hydrated? Is he/she getting enough fluids to prevent dehydration.  Lack of fluids can also increase the risk for urinary tract infections, especially if the resident has a catheter.

Staff Availability

Use the call bell when you visit. How long does it take staff to respond? Lengthy wait times could suggest a lack of adequate staffing to meet the needs of the residents.

Consistent Staff Members

Does the management personnel seem to change each time you visit? Turnover in management could indicate internal problems within the company which could compromise the care of the residents.

Do you find different staff members each time you visit? It could be that you visit during different shifts or different days of the week, or it could be a staffing issue.  Are the staff willing and able to assist when requested? Are they respectful of the residents when speaking to them and providing care?

Review State Surveys

Review the periodic surveys conducted by the state. What issues were raised? How is the facility dealing with those issues? Has an updated survey been completed by the state?  These are available at the nursing home and also through the state by a public records request.

It is difficult to make the decision that a loved one requires care beyond which you can provide in the home.  This is only compounded by the fear your loved one may not be receiving the care and treatment necessary to meet their needs. However, by keeping a watchful eye on your loved one, and periodically reviewing with the staff the issues described above, you can help ensure your loved one receives the care he or she deserves in their golden years. If you have questions about the care or treatment a loved one received while a resident in a nursing home or assisted living facility, please contact our office for a free consultation.