Would you recognize signs of nursing home neglect? A beloved family member’s life and well-being may depend on it.

Neglecting to provide adequate care and supervision to vulnerable nursing home residents is a form of abuse. Typically, it may occur in lack of assistance or supervision with maintaining residents’ hygiene, mobility and eating.

Read on for some signs that all is not as it should be at the facility where your loved one is living.

Decreased mobility

Conditions like dementia can affect elderly nursing home residents’ abilities to navigate on their own. But nursing home staff should encourage them to stay active as much as possible through exercising and providing them with assistance to get up and move around daily.

If they are left to lie in bed all day, they can lose muscle tone and experience circulation problems, eventually developing infections, bedsores and contractures.

Diminished personal hygiene

Nursing home residents may need assistance with bathing, showering, cutting their nails, oral hygiene and washing and combing their hair. It can be challenging for nurses and aides to keep up with all of these tasks for residents if their shifts are short of staff.

If your formerly fastidious family member has “let herself go” while living in a nursing home, it may be that she is being neglected.

The nursing home is dirty

When you walk in the doors, are you assaulted with the smell of urine or feces emanating from the residents? While bathroom accidents may be common, residents should be changed and freshened up and not allowed to sit in their own waste.

Signs of malnutrition or dehydration

Nonverbal nursing home residents lack the ability to let caregivers know when they are hungry or thirsty. If harried staff members don’t oversee their intake of food at meals and liquids throughout the day, they could become dangerously malnourished and/or dehydrated.

Numerous bumps, bruises or breaks

While these could be hallmarks of actual physical abuse, often these type of injuries indicate a lack of supervision of the residents. Elderly patients may forget that they need assistance to get out of bed and go to the bathroom. When they attempt to navigate on their own, they fall and get hurt.

Take action when necessary

Be prepared to act as your family member’s advocate if you suspect that he or she is being abused or neglected in a nursing home.

Source: Next Avenue, “6 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect,” Sarah Blanchard, accessed May 11, 2018