Relying on a nursing home to care for your family member requires you to put your trust in someone else to meet basic needs. You should take immediate action if you have concerns that your loved one experiences neglect.

Knowing the warning signs of mistreatment can help you identify when something is amiss. Your diligence in observing your family member could have a life-saving outcome.

Pay attention to personal hygiene

Hygiene is one of the most common tasks that a nursing home facility will assist with. When you visit your family member, watch for signs of poor hygiene, including body odor, unkempt hair and dirty clothing. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nursing home neglect also includes ignorance of your loved one’s medical needs.

Watch social interactions

Your family member should have ample opportunity to interact and socialize with others. This includes access to visitation from loved ones and the option to participate in social activities within the facility. Isolation, abandonment and neglect can interfere with your family member’s self-esteem and quality of life.

Observe social conditions. Watch the interactions between staff and residents. Pay attention to the environment and whether the residents appear comfortable and eager to engage in conversation.

Communicate regularly

Arguably the most important thing you can do is to communicate regularly with your loved one. Visit often and at different times. Educate about what nursing home abuse looks like and encourage your family member to talk to you about any concerns. If at any point the care your loved one receives does not match your expectations, promptly discuss your concerns with facility staff.