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How do I know if my loved one is being neglected?

Nursing home neglect is a problem that can occur at every nursing home. Even if your loved one is in a high-quality nursing facility, you should still be vigilant about watching for signs of nursing home neglect. It is critical that you know how to spot some of the more subtle signs so that you can begin to take action on behalf of your loved one.

What are the signs that my loved one is receiving quality care?

The residents who are receiving quality care in a nursing home will be comfortable. The facility will be a comfortable temperature and offer appetizing food. It will be clean. Your loved one will be clean and happy. The staff members and other residents will freely interact with each other and the residents will enjoy meaningful activities.

What are the signs that my loved one might be being neglected?

A high staff turnover or staff that doesn't interact freely with patients can signal that there are issues at the facility. Low-quality food, an unclean facility or an uncomfortable temperature can also signal problems. Not having engaging activities for residents or hearing complaints from other residents' family members are also warning signs.

What are the red flags that signal nursing home neglect is occurring?

Red flags that signal an immediate need for intervention on behalf of your loved one include severe understaffing, unresponsive staff members and ignored complaints are red flags. Unexplained or repeated injuries, residents who aren't clean or have body odor and residents who appear 'out of it,' unhappy or sullen are also signs that immediate action is necessary.

If you notice any warning signs or red flags, make sure you document what you are seeing. You can then take action to help improve the living conditions for your loved one.

Source: National Center on Elder Abuse, "Put a Stop to Poor Care," accessed Jan. 15, 2016

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