It’s infuriating to find out the care your relative is receiving in a nursing home falls short of expectations, and It’s scary to think that it might be worse than you know.
So how can you spot a bad nursing home?
“There are factually dozens of possible warning signs,” says Mary Hewitt, a long-term staff member at Lovat House. Here are what she and other professionals consider potentially serious red flags:
- Observed emotional or physical alterations. If your loved one no longer seems interested in activities, is withdrawn and quiet there is reason for concern. Physical signs include unexplained bruising, pressure ulcers and grazes. But be aware, these incidents may also occur for other reasons unrelated to abuse.
- Staff are vague when you ask a question. “I’ll find out for you” is acceptable, but not repeatedly, and you shouldn’t feel there’s maybe something to hide. If staff are ambiguous with questions, or frequently unable to answer, or are refusing to talk about your relative’s care with you, this is a red flag that care is not up to par.
- A lack of staff may be unavoidable at times, but if it is always chaotic, there is something amiss. Do the staff work well together, or do they seem to dislike one another? At meals, do they talk among themselves or mix with the residents?
- Abnormally high staff turnover. Some staff turnover is a regrettable reality at most nursing homes, but if you notice that your nursing home is frequently training new staff to the point that no one on the staff knows the residents well, it is time to look for a new place.
- If your relative protests against being treated by a certain staff member, take it seriously. Even if they suffer from cognitive problems, the dislike of specific employees may be a sign of mistreatment or negligence.
Ultimately, your gut knows if a care home is right. Most of the warning signs will be the family member’s feeling that something is not right, or a feeling of discomfort when they visit. If you feel your relative is being mistreated, contact us immediately.