10 Common Red Flags to Look For When Choosing a Nursing Home

At least 10 percent of elderly people in America experience abuse. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for that abuse to occur at the hand of their caregivers in nursing home facilities.

You chose an assisted living community for your loved one because you want to keep him or her safe. That’s why you need to be aware that bad nursing homes do exist.

The first step to combatting elder abuse in a nursing home is preventing it. And looking out for the following ten signs of a potentially rotten senior community can help.

Keep reading to learn more about the top red flags to watch out for when you’re choosing a senior home for your loved one.

1. The Nursing Home Staff Doesn’t Interact with Residents

When you visit a prospective nursing home for the first time, pay close attention to how the staff interacts with the residents. Do they spend time with residents? Or does the staff tend to huddle in a bunch and keep to themselves?

If the latter is true, you may want to think twice. A good nursing home staff takes time to get to know and interact with each patient.

2. Changes in Your Loved One’s Behavior

If your loved one is in a nursing home already, paying attention to his or her behavior can help you spot signs of abuse or neglect. For example, noticeable changes in your loved one’s behavior may be a sign something is wrong.

3. Resident Calls for Help Go Unanswered

A resident’s call for help should always be a top priority. After all, you moved your loved one to a nursing home because they needed more help and supervision than you could offer on your own.

Residents’ calls for help going unanswered could be a sign of an understaffed facility. In other cases, it could be a sign that the staff is neglecting your loved one’s needs.

4. Indications of Physical Restraint Use

Have you noticed bruises, scratches, or red marks around your loved one’s wrists and ankles when you come to visit? This could be a sign that the nursing home staff is using physical restraints on your loved one.

Except in the most severe cases, using physical restraint on an elderly person is both improper and unnecessary. Physical restraint use could be, at best, a sign of a lazy staff. At worst, this could signal a case of elder abuse.

5. The Staff Doesn’t Want to Leave You Alone With Your Loved One

You visit the nursing home to see your loved one, and any good nursing home staff should know this. If you’re delayed from seeing your loved one when you arrive or, worse, the staff hovers over you during your visit, this is a bad sign.

Not wanting to leave you alone could be a way for the staff to ensure your loved one doesn’t speak up about abuse or neglect. The same goes for instances in which the nursing home staff refuses to grant you access to your loved one.

6. Your Loved One is Afraid of the Staff

If your loved one seems fearful of his or her nursing home aids, this is a red flag. Keep in mind, though, that fearfulness could be a sign of physical abuse, verbal abuse, or both.

7. High Staff Turnover Rates

The first time you visit a prospective nursing home, ask about the staff turnover rate. The answer to this question can reveal two important things.

First, the turnover rate indicates whether your loved one will see the same faces every day. New people coming and going may unsettle your loved one. A low staff turnover ensures they have time to develop relationships and feel comfortable with their aides.

A high turnover rate may also hint at something more insidious going on with the way management runs the nursing home. And if the home’s staff aren’t happy, how can you expect

8. Resident Rooms are Unsanitary or Unclean

Unsanitary living conditions is one of the most obvious signs of neglect. Residents’ rooms should be in good condition. Bed linens should be clean, bathroom facilities should be in good condition, and residents themselves should be bathed and properly clothed.

Keep in mind that abuse and neglect happen at even the cleanest and most polished of facilities. That’s why it’s always so important to ask for references before deciding on the right home for your loved one.

9. Your Loved One is Losing Weight

A small amount of weight loss after moving into a nursing home is relatively normal. Your loved one may have a hard time adjusting to the home’s food. Or the exercise regimen may be more intensive than your loved one is used to.

Yet, if your loved one is losing a lot of weight quickly, this could be a sign of malnutrition and neglect.

10. Residents Are Heavily Medicated

Nursing home staff are notoriously overworked and underpaid. This is why it’s not uncommon for staff to try cutting corners to reduce their workload. One unfortunate way these bad actors do that is by sedating residents.

Over-medicating residents keeps them from making demands. In some cases, sedation can also keep your loved one from speaking up about what’s really going when you’re not there.

A Senior Living Haven in St. Louis

Finding the right nursing home for your loved one takes time. Whether you’re searching for your loved one’s first community or a whole new community, follow these ten tips to help steer clear of bad senior care facilities.

Are you searching for a safe place to send your loved one to in St. Louis? You’ve found it with Mari de Villa. Take a virtual tour of our facilities now to discover why we’re St. Louis’s favorite senior living community.