Nursing homes can be a great place for aging adults to get the daily care that they need. Unfortunately, improper care can be an issue. As the loved one of a nursing home resident, it’s important that you understand the signs of negligence and can look for them as you visit.

While deteriorating mental and physical health can make it difficult to determine aging from neglect, there are signals that your loved one may not be getting the care they need. Here are some signs of neglect to be aware of:

Unsanitary conditions and poor hygiene – You may notice that your loved one is not getting the sanitation and hygiene help that they need. This can include unsterilized environments, insects, lack of showering and food-borne illnesses.

Bedsores – Residents who primarily must stay in bed must be moved by staff to prevent sores developing. These issues are very preventable, yet still occur when caregivers are negligent.

Injuries – Residents who are alone for significant amounts of time may try to get up on their own, which for many may result in falls and injuries.

Medical issues – If you learn of medical issues like infections or medication errors, be aware that this could be a result of negligence.

Dehydration or malnutrition – Deteriorating health can be a result of missed meals, lack of nourishing food and lack of fluids.

Abandonment – If a resident is in their room for significant amounts of time when they should walk around or go to the common areas, caregivers may be negligent and ignoring your loved one’s mobility and socialization needs. For more mobile residents, abandonment may lead to wandering, getting lost or injured.

Staffing issues – If the caregivers seem frantic, understaffed, irritated, if they evade questions, if call lights and phones are left unanswered or if your loved one does not want certain staff members to care for them, the nursing home may be a neglectful environment.

Mood changes – Negligence can influence your loved one’s mental and emotional health. If you notice sudden mood changes, the resident may be suffering from neglect or abuse.

While you may not be able to be present all the time in your loved one’s nursing home, you can be aware of the signs of neglect when you do go to visit. It can be helpful to talk with your resident to hear what they think of the care they are receiving.