10 Worrying Red Flags to Be Aware of When Visiting a Relative in a Nursing Home

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As your loved ones grow older, you sometimes realize the difficulties associated with caring for them. This is why many people seek professional help and settle on placing their loved ones in nursing homes. Unfortunately, finding a good nursing home can be tricky as not all nursing homes uphold standards that make them a perfect place for our loved ones.

There are some things you need to be on the lookout for to ensure your loved ones are getting the best care possible, On that note, here are ten worrying red flags to be aware of when visiting a relative in a nursing home.

Limited Staffing

Limited staffing is one of the significant causes of abuse in nursing homes. Residents often don’t receive the necessary care when the staff is overworked. Furthermore, it can cause them to lash out and verbally abuse residents. This can also potentially increase the number of medical errors made. An excellent way to check if your relative’s nursing home is understaffed is to visit in the late morning and see how many residents are still in bed. 

If any of them are still in bed at that time, there is a high chance there isn’t enough staff to take care of the needs of the residents properly.

Dirty Facility

Nursing homes should always prioritize cleanliness. A dirty facility may indicate laziness on the staff and irresponsibility on the part of the caregivers. Every part of the home should be clean with a desirable scent and also be equipped with essential health supplies. A dirty facility breeds germs and illnesses, which can be fatal for elderly residents with weakened or compromised immune systems.

On your next visit to see your relative, take note of the hygienic state of the nursing home, and file a complaint if it’s not up to standards.

Lack Of Activities

Nursing homes that fail to set up activities and opportunities for residents to socialize with each other are most likely not concerned with their well-being. Activities ensure your relatives are kept active, and their minds and bodies are well exercised. They also improve mental health and structure their day-to-day activities. With the numerous benefits of physical and social activities, refusing residents access to them can be seen as abuse.

You must ensure your relatives get the proper activities that keep them happy and relaxed.

Bedsores Or Other Injuries

When visiting a relative, you must take some time to examine them properly. Look out for bedsores, weight loss, fear, and other injuries, as they can indicate that your relative is being neglected or abused. This is important because you have a right, as a relative of the resident, to ensure that the said resident is safe and healthy. 

If you discover any irregularities, you can file an injury claim against the nursing home to ensure such terrible incidents never occur again.

Poor Quality Food

One of the first steps in providing essential care for the elderly is to provide a proper diet. When visiting your loved one around mealtime, you can look for the type of meals served and their quality. Older people need healthy food choices that keep their energy levels and are easy for their bodies to digest. Your nursing home must provide a wide range of dietary options. Do not hesitate to request the meal plans or inquire about how the nursing home made the food.

Bad And Restrictive Visiting Policy

Nursing homes should have flexible visiting times, so residents don’t feel lonely and neglected by their families. You should be able to walk in anytime during business hours without making an appointment to see your relative.

Be well aware of the policy around visitations, as having a restricted or bad visiting policy can be a sign that things are being kept from the friends and families of the residents. It can also mean they are understaffed and the residents are poorly taken care of.

Long Response Time

All it takes is a couple of seconds before anything becomes an emergency. Residents’ calls for help and attention should always be a top priority for any nursing home. It is a big red flag when it takes too long before a resident is attended to, as emergencies can mean a life-or-death situation. One thing that often causes slow response times is the insufficient or irresponsible staff.

While visiting your relative, you can observe the nursing home’s activities and response time to know if it’s the best place for them.

Lack Of Privacy

Everyone has the right to privacy, especially the elderly in nursing homes. They need the feeling of security for their belongings, personal needs, visits, phone calls, and emails. Residents need access to private areas where they can make phone calls and visits can happen comfortably. They also need lock boxes to protect their personal belongings from theft and destruction.  You can learn about the residents’ privacy while visiting your relatives. If the staff is not giving you space to be alone with your relative, then be wary of their level of privacy.

Also, ask your loved one questions about the safety of their personal belongings.

Residents Looking Unkempt 

Sometimes residents need help with their daily personal hygiene. Residents with dirty clothes, messy hair, untrimmed fingernails, body odor, and other undesirable characteristics are a big red flag. This suggests that the caregivers are not providing them with the necessary personal care and assistance.

If your relative appears unkempt during your next visit, file a complaint or request immediate care. Also, make sure you keep track of the cleanliness of other residents.

Inattentive Administrators

Nursing home administrators are always busy. Granted, they do not need to know everything about the day-to-day running of the nursing home as staff members do. But they shouldn’t be disconnected from the residents. Administrators need to know all residents on a slightly personal level and connect with them to create the best living conditions.

When administrators know residents personally, they can easily find out what needs to get better, changed, or stopped for happy living amongst the residents.

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