Quality of Care – Nursing Home Red Flags

| September 3, 2017 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

Important Warning Signs You Could Miss

Happy woman sitting in wheelchair with young nurse to her side

Finding the right nursing home to provide quality care for your loved one can be a long and difficult process. A process that should be taken seriously as nursing home abuse is surprisingly common. A lot of people have the mindset of “that will never happen to my family” but nursing home abuse can happen anywhere from Mcallen, TX to Louisville, KY. This is why it’s important to always keep an eye out for signs of abuse. According to The Nursing Home Abuse Guide, nearly 10 percent of nursing homes have violations that pose a risk of serious injury or death, or have caused the deaths of their residents and have to call a nursing home abuse lawyer.

The well being of your family member is not something to be taken lightly. Whether you are beginning to tour nursing homes or visiting a loved one already placed in a home, observe your surroundings closely and ask necessary questions.Staying alert for the following red flags could make the difference in ensuring your senior is provided with the care they deserve.


During your visit, cleanliness will be one of the very first things you notice. It should be easy to tell if the home is sanitary and in good condition. If the residency is not being taken care of, this could indicate the residents are being neglected as well.

When you visit, make plans to go into an occupied room to see if it is presentable and is cleaned appropriately. Also, observe whether or not the residents are dressed correctly and groomed as they go about their day.

One of the biggest indicators of a clean nursing home is by the way it smells. If you notice an unpleasant scent, bring it to the attention of the nursing home staff and move on to the next home on your list.

Pain Management

As you walk through the home listen to the conversations taking place.Pay attention to the response of the staff if you hear anyone say he/she is hurting, as it is pertinent that nursing home residents are receiving prompt and accurate care.

The nurses and staff members present should always respond to resident needs and be prepared to offer assistance when requested. If they fail to acknowledge the discomfort of those under their care, this is a sign your loved one’s pain may also be ignored.


While it is important for nursing home residents to receive proper medication and treatment, it is equally as important that they are not being over medicated. Check if the facility has an anti-psychotic medication policy, as many residents in nursing homes are given these medications without the proper diagnosis.

It is crucial to notice if many of the residents appear overtly zombie like or if they are in generally good spirits, this could indicate whether the residents are receiving the correct treatment.


To determine if your loved one will be receiving nutritious food and drinks at the home, request a meal during your visit (at your expense).If you did not enjoy your meal, think of the residents who dine at the facility every day, many of whom do not have access to alternative options.Look at residents’ plates after they have been served. Does it seem like they enjoyed the meal? Observe their expressions as they eat and if they finished their food.

The dietary staff at the home should be checking in with the residents regularly, asking if they would like something other than what is being served. Additionally, residents ought to receive snacks between meal times.

Pay attention to not only the state of the nursing home,but also to the behavior and appearance of the residents as you work towards selecting a nursing home for a loved one. If your visit was not up to par, return to the home for another visit to see if anything has changed.If you happen to notice any signs of abuse or neglect during any of your visits,make sure to report the incident to authorities as many residents are extremely vulnerable.

About the Author

Susan Hodges, the author of A Breach of Trust, is an advocate for senior citizens navigating the world of geriatric care and assisted living. As a retired licensed nursing facility administrator (LNFA) and long term care administrator (LTC), Hodges previously maintained nursing homes in Stamford and Fort Worth, TX where she helped the facilities stay abreast of their daily challenges.Hodges currently serves as president of Hodges Consulting and resides in Fort Worth,TX where she works tirelessly to protect the rights of nursing home residents.



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Category: Articles, Blog, Senior Health