8 Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore When Visiting A Nursing Home

8 Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore When Visiting A Nursing Home

Sometimes it’s hard to look after an aging parent or grandparent, especially when you have a busy schedule to meet. In such a situation, you end up admitting your loved ones into a nursing home.

A nursing home is a place where you expect your loved ones receive quality care in a safe environment. However, finding a facility that meets the quality standards for residents’ welfare is not always easy. You must pay attention to a few factors to ensure you make the right choice in selecting a facility for a loved one you can’t look after at home. Before admitting your loved one, schedule a visit to the facility and watch out for any warning signs that might raise health issues or safety risks in the long run. Here are some red flags you should not ignore when visiting a nursing home.

Residents show signs of neglectful care

The state of residents can be a good depiction of how good or bad the staff treats patients. So pay close attention to the residents. While on a facility tour, see how residents are taken care of. If residents appear unhappy and unclean and show signs of neglect, it is a red flag you must consider.

When residents are deprived of the basic standard of care, it often results in health issues or injuries. Sometimes this may not be apparent when you admit your relative into the facility. In the unfortunate event of your loved one experiencing hardships after admission, contact a nursing home neglect lawyer to seek assistance and explore your options.

The nursing home is not well-managed

Mismanagement is easy to spot. Visit the common areas such as the lobby, bedrooms, and restroom and check if they are tidy and well kept. Ensure the nursing home is free from any unpleasant or bad odors. Smelly areas and a messy outlook indicate poor managerial standards, and if the home can’t provide that, it can’t take good care of residents either.

Mismanagement also points to staffing problems such as shortage and lack of quality human resources. A mismanaged facility can worsen the health of residents, so be wary of such dingy places.

The nursing home has no abuse prevention policies

Abuse prevention policies play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the residents. Always check if the nursing home has implemented policies and procedures to report or prohibit physical and sexual abuse. A nursing home that takes prompt action to address the residents’ complaints and provide safe places is better for prolonged admission.

You can visit valuable resources such as Medicare to check the list of nursing homes cited for abuse. Review the staffing policies of the nursing home to ensure it does not hire employees with a criminal record or a history of mistreatment and abuse of the residents.

The nursing home has a shortage of qualified staff

The staff determines the quality of service residents will receive. Look for how staff deal with the residents. Do they call residents names or knock on the door while visiting their rooms? Ask for the staff-to-resident ratio and see if the facility is already understaffed. It can become an obstacle in delivering quality care to the residents.

In addition, every nursing home is legally bound to share information about staff availability on the premises. For instance, you can ask if the licensed nursing staff is available 24/7, with an RN at least 8 hours per day. Similarly, check for Certified Nurse Assistants who can help residents plan their care.

The nursing home does not provide a conducive environment for residents

Long-term living facilities should promote a conducive environment for residents and encourage them to participate in various activities and interaction opportunities. Every resident must be allowed to help plan, choose, and participate in social activities. Nursing homes that do not plan scheduled activities are not generally interested in the well-being of the residents.

In addition, a nursing home must offer religious or cultural support to the residents. You can visit the nursing home to check if outdoor areas are allowed to visit for residents either by themselves or with the assistance of staff. Moreover, you must ask the nursing home for permission to leave the premises for a short duration or applicable policies.

The nursing home does not have flexible visiting hours

Inflexible visiting hours can also be a red flag. A nursing home must have flexible visiting policies to ensure family members or friends can visit anytime they want. It is a good way to keep an eye on the facility’s work and helps the family members check if their loved one is receiving proper attention and care.

Of course, the nursing home doesn’t expect you to visit residents during odd hours like late at night. Be mindful of timings and always seek permission to visit the resident during business hours.

The nursing home does not provide quality food services

Aged and terminally residents require a healthy meal. While visiting the nursing home, be fully aware of the dietary needs of the person you’re admitting and ensure the nursing home can cater to them. Some people overlook this aspect and don’t ask for meal plans or charts available for residents.

Also, consider underweight residents an alarming sign and ask the nursing home about special dietary needs. For instance, some residents may have certain food allergies or dietary needs. Don’t hesitate to inquire about the meal preparation, and if allowed, visit the kitchen area for your satisfaction.

The nursing home lacks specialized services for residents

If the resident has special medical needs, such as in the case of dementia, you must check with the facility first. Ask about specialized services such as a ventilator or special care unit. Read the policies and procedures that apply to the special needs of the residents with dementia. Inquire about using non-medicinal approaches to address the behavioral needs of the residents with psychological conditions.


You must be well-informed and thoughtful enough not to overlook the signs of malpractice while visiting long-term nursing facilities for a loved one. Be thorough when evaluating and shortlisting nursing homes, and watch out for the red flags mentioned above. Moreover, seek aid from professionals when needed and report to concerned authorities in case of neglect and abuse in nursing homes.

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