The care that a person receives in a nursing home should meet that person's needs. Individualized care plans can be beneficial, but only if the staff follows those plans accordingly. When any vital need is bypassed, there is a chance that the resident might suffer. This neglect is fully preventable, but is often overlooked by the staff.
For anyone who has a loved one in a nursing home, watching for signs of substandard care should become a part of normal life. The earlier you spot these issues, the more likely you will be able to address them before they get too out of hand. It might help for you to make a note of these common signs of neglect so you can refer to it quickly if you think something is amiss.
Lack of personal care
One of the primary duties of nursing home aides is helping the residents with personal care needs. This can include clipping their nails, dressing, toileting and other hygiene needs. This might not be evident right at first. You might visit and notice that your loved one's hair hasn't been combed that day or that they aren't wearing matching clothing. It is easy to write these off as nothing major but if you consistently see this type of situation when you visit, it is time to take a closer look at the care the resident is receiving.
Unclean living conditions
All nursing homes must have suitable sanitation methods in place. These are established by federal law and can't be skirted around. Signs that the facility might not be doing what they should do include debris or dirt on the floors, rooms that aren't being mopped, dirty linens, lack of clean towels and dirty eating areas. You shouldn't see vermin or pests of any sort within the facility, so keep a close eye on that. Everything should be in good repair, including handrails, furniture and flooring.
Preventable health issues
Preventable health issues like dehydration, malnutrition and bedsores are a certain sign that neglect is taking place in the facility. There is no conceivable reason why a resident who is receiving proper care would have any of these present. Staff members can monitor the input and output of residents if the person is showing signs of not eating or drinking enough. Frequent position changes can prevent bedsores.
Never think that your loved one will speak up about neglect. In many cases, the residents feel as though they will cause problems if they say anything. They might not want to "rock the boat" because they are afraid of the repercussions of doing so. Keeping a watchful eye on what is going on is the only way that you may truly be able to help protect your loved one.