Nursing home abuse can lower life expectancy and cause serious trauma. Protecting your loved one from mistreatment requires vigilance.
Your awareness of the environment and regular communication with your loved one can help you stay informed. If you notice anything suspicious, you should take immediate action.
Observe the environment
When you visit the facility, observe the environment and the condition of the residents. Be mindful of how your family member appears. The facility should make sure each resident receives proper hygiene and that there are no pungent odors. Your family member should appear well cared for and in good spirits.
Watch for connection
Despite living in a nursing home, your family member should have ample opportunities to connect with other people. This connection can come from interacting with other residents or forming relationships with caretakers. According to the United States National Institute on Aging, signs of abuse may include the following:
- Unexplained injuries
- Weight loss
- Social anxiety
- Insufficient medical aid
When your family member has meaningful connections with others, the likelihood of mistreatment goes down considerably.
Report your concerns
If you notice anything suspicious at the facility, you can report your concerns to the staff members. If nothing comes from your communication with them, you may need to take your concerns elsewhere. In serious cases, you may need to involve the local authorities.
Develop a regular visitation schedule to see your family member. You can also drop in unannounced to get a better idea of what happens when you are not around. The level of attention you pay could be the reason you prevent mistreatment from happening to your family member.