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5 red flags that mean a nursing home is providing sub-par care

Nursing home neglect is hard to spot. Even direct nursing home abuse can fly under the radar.

This is part of the reason it's such a pervasive problem. A lot of elderly individuals aren't able to speak out. Workers may cover up abuse and neglect. Family members miss the signs.

You put your loved one in a nursing home last year. You're just not sure that everything is perfectly right. You're not 100 percent convinced that abuse or neglect are taking place, but you're worried. Naturally, you're feeling protective. You want to make sure your loved one gets excellent care.

Below are a few red flags to watch out for.

1. The staff dodges your questions.

Yes, every staff member is not going to have every answer. A worker may have to go ask a supervisor. That's fine. What's not fine is when every person on staff avoids your questions and you can never dig down and find the answers you want. Are they purposefully avoiding problematic answers?

2. Emotional changes.

The physical signs of abuse and neglect may stay hidden, but the emotional signs can still show through. Does your loved one act sad, angry or depressed more often? Some of this could be connected to aging or living in a new environment, but watch out for sudden and drastic changes.

3. Your loved one doesn't like specific workers.

Maybe your loved one is typically happy and kind to the workers, but one specific worker causes him or her to act sullen and withdrawn. Maybe your loved one specifically asks for a different caretaker. What happened to spur that? Why does your loved one not get along with that worker? Even if no one says anything directly, this is a reason to dig in a bit deeper.

4. The staff isn't adequate.

When you look for a staff member, you can never find one. When you pull the cord in the room, it takes an hour for someone to arrive. Workers may not neglect your loved one intentionally, but, if there simply aren't enough people on staff, it could still happen. Then you have an issue with the owners, who need to hire more workers so that everyone can get excellent care when needed.

5. Your gut tells you something's wrong.

You can't put your finger on it, but things don't feel right. Trust your gut. You may start picking up on things subconsciously. You may even start seeing some of the signs listed above without realizing it. A bad feeling typically happens for a reason, and it's worth finding out what that reason is.

If your loved one gets neglected or abused, it's crucial to understand all of the options you have and what steps you can quickly take to provide protection, support and solutions.

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