Common Signs of Bad Nursing Homes
When you make the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, you put a lot of trust in the facility and its caregivers. You expect them to treat your loved one with the care, respect, and dignity they deserve at this stage of their life. Unfortunately, many institutions have made the news for elder abuse over the years, and this may cause you to worry. How do you know that your loved one will be treated properly under a stranger’s care? You can gain some peace of mind by knowing the common signs of bad nursing homes.
High Caregiver-to-Patient Ratio
How is the caregiver-to-patient ratio at the facility? Caregivers who are extremely stressed and burned out are more likely to abuse the residents. When you are at the nursing home, ask about the ratio and compare it to other facilities in the area. If it’s lower than average, you can feel more confident that your loved one is getting more individual care.
When visiting the nursing home, you should also pay attention to how the staff behaves. Do they consistently delay answering calls for help? Do caregivers seem to be standing around too much and not interacting with residents? Does it always feel chaotic when you visit? If so, these could be indicators that the facility has poor staff support.
Frequent Caregiver Turnover
Does it seem like there are new caregivers every time you visit your elderly loved one? Older adults need someone who they can trust to care for them, but it’s hard to develop that kind of relationship when caregivers are constantly leaving the nursing home. High turnover is also usually a sign that there are other problems within the facility that may not be obvious to a family member, like poor management or hostile work conditions.
You should definitely take a look around the nursing home. If the facility is unkempt, it could be a sign that the nursing home is short-staffed and unable to provide your loved one with adequate attention. Be sure to also check out the residential rooms. Do they smell fresh? Are the beds made? Do residents appear clean, happy, and engaged? Are common rooms neat and tidy? These are all things that you should look for when visiting the facility.
Have you had some concerns regarding your loved one, but you haven’t been able to reach an administrator? Or maybe you have presented the matter to them, but staff members are evasive, unable to give you answers, or even seem hesitant to discuss the problem with you at all. Unavailable or unresponsive staff is a clear sign of a bad nursing home.
Often, these red flags can lead to elder abuse or neglect. You might begin to notice signs like:
- Unexplained broken bones, bruises, or scratches. These can happen when an older adult is left alone for long periods of time. They may try to do challenging things on their own, which can result in unnecessary falls.
- Consistent bed sores. When someone with limited mobility has frequent bed sores, it usually means that they are not being repositioned enough. The increased pressure on the same area of the body causes painful sores that can become infected and lead to serious health issues.
- Impaired cognitive state. If your loved one seems more confused or disoriented than usual, it could be a sign that their medicine dosage is too high. Caregivers who are too busy may not adhere to the prescribed schedule, or they may be careless when dispensing the meds and give too much. If you have concerns regarding your loved one’s medicine, you should first bring it up the administrator.
- Extreme weight loss. This might mean that your loved one isn’t eating properly. Many older adults have special diets, which nursing homes should take into account during their meals. However, if those needs aren’t being met properly, the individual will rapidly lose weight and bone density. They may become malnourished, which can result in a range of other health problems.
- Reduced mobility. As seniors age, it’s important to keep up an exercise regime regardless of their mobility status. Not only will exercise help minimize the risk of developing serious health issues like diabetes or heart disease, but it also improves blood flow, increases stamina, and reduces joint pain. Without regular exercise, seniors may have a harder time getting around as their muscles become weaker and weaker.
- Poor personal hygiene. When there aren’t enough caregivers to go around, residents may not get the help that they need with personal care like toileting and bathing. They may appear unwashed, have body odor, or wear dirty clothes.
If you have noticed any of these issues, the first thing that you should do is discuss the problems with the facility manager or administrator. However, if you feel like you are getting the run-around, it is time to take the next step. You can report the institution to your local APS office or law enforcement agency to have them conduct a thorough investigation.
When to Call a Lawyer
If your loved one has experienced any type of physical, emotional, or financial abuse at a nursing home, call a lawyer right away. Nursing homes are required by law to provide an adequate level of care to each and every patient, and when they violate this standard, they should be held accountable. The Law Office of Kyle W. Jones of Bakersfield can help. We provide comprehensive legal services for elderly victims of nursing home abuse.
Contact Our Bakersfield Law Office
The Law Office of Kyle W. Jones is committed to protecting the rights of vulnerable adults. If you believe your loved one has been hurt due to the negligence of a nursing home, we will work hard to help you seek justice and make sure that it never happens again. Contact our office today to set up your appointment with an experienced elder abuse lawyer in Bakersfield.