Choosing a nursing home for a loved one poses a challenge for many families. You hope they receive the care, compassion and attention they deserve. Sadly, the standards in some nursing homes might fall short of your expectations. The Massachusetts Office of the Statewide Long-term Care’s ombudsman program found that state residents filed over 2,500 complaints about nursing homes in 2022.
Some nursing homes might subtly neglect their residents, making detection difficult. Thankfully, by staying vigilant and understanding the understated indicators, you can ensure the well-being and safety of your loved one.
Change in physical appearance or hygiene
Deteriorating physical appearance might indicate neglect. Check for unwashed hair, dirty nails or unchanged clothes. Poor personal hygiene often suggests that the staff isn’t properly attending to residents.
Unexplained weight loss
Sudden or gradual weight loss can show that your loved one isn’t eating well. This might relate to the quality of food, lack of assistance during meal times or untreated health issues.
Isolation or change in behavior
A more withdrawn loved one or avoidance of social interaction might point to neglect. Neglect on emotional or psychological levels can lead to depression, anxiety or other behavioral changes.
Unattended medical needs
Untreated wounds, frequent infections or overlooked health complaints suggest the nursing home isn’t giving proper medical attention.
Frequent falls or accidents
Regular accidents might show that the staff isn’t supervising or assisting residents properly, especially if they have mobility issues.
Dirty facilities or unpleasant odors indicate poor maintenance and neglect in the living conditions.
Residents appear afraid or uneasy around staff
If your loved one or other residents seem uncomfortable or fearful around certain staff members, underlying issues might exist.
Personal belongings missing or used by others
Disappearing personal items indicate a lack of supervision and organization. It also shows a disregard for the residents’ personal space and belongings.
While you can easily spot some signs of neglect, others require closer attention. Regularly visiting your loved one, actively communicating with them and observing their physical and emotional state can help you identify these subtle signs. Addressing any concerns promptly ensures the safety and well-being of your loved one in their Massachusetts nursing home.