Red Flags to Watch for When Picking Out a Nursing Home for Your Loved One

When you go to a nursing home to visit your loved one or decide if you want to send your loved one there, you should keep an eye out for signs the facility provides poor care to residents. Sometimes residents report abuse, but many times it is loved ones who identify abuse and respond. This is why it is so crucial for you to keep your eyes open for the red flags explained below.

The experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Ferrell & Brown help families of loved ones who are not treated properly and suffer abuse or neglect. Schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation today to learn about your possible legal options.

Your Questions Are Not Being Answered

When you are exploring potential nursing homes for your loved one, it is a good idea to prepare a list of questions for staff members. However, if the staff is unable to answer your questions, it may be cause for alarm.

Similarly, if your loved one is currently in a nursing home and you are concerned about things such as weight loss, bed sores or a sudden change in behavior or health and the nursing home staff cannot answer your questions, this could be a sign that your loved one may have been abused or neglected. Pay attention if staff members seem evasive with your questions.

Staff is Frantic

If staff seems to be overwhelmed, rushing from one patient to the next or otherwise in a constant frantic state, this could be cause for alarm. While all nursing homes may sometimes have frantic moments such as if a nursing home resident just fell, constant frenzy may indicate that there are not enough staff members to provide quality care. It can also mean staff members are not properly trained.

Additionally, a frenzied staff may also be a sign that the administration is not in touch with patient care. Proper leadership could be lacking if staff is constantly running around and seems to be in a crisis.

High Staff Turnover

High staff turnover can cause a nursing home to lack an adequate staff. It can also cause more untrained staff members to be on the floor. You can determine if there is high staff turnover by routinely visiting your loved one in the nursing home. If you do not recognize the aides that come in, it may be due to high staff turnover.

While all nursing homes may suffer from staff turnover sometimes due to the difficult job and typical low pay, constant turnover is a bad sign. Consistent pairing between staff and residents is important to the quality of care your loved one receives.

Poor Interactions with Residents

Notice how the staff interacts with your loved one and other residents. If the staff yells, belittles, dismisses or otherwise treats residents unkindly, they may do the same for your loved one. Also, if you notice call lights on for a long time or residents who specifically say they do not want to be cared for by a particular aide, take this as a major warning sign.

Staff Ignores You or is Dismissive with Questions or Concerns

While staff may not know the answers to all of your questions or how to address your concerns, you should expect the staff to be responsive. An occasional “I will find out” may not be worrisome, but if your questions are often dismissed or evaded, it may be time to conduct further investigation.


Sometimes the best warning sign that abuse or neglect is occurring is your gut feeling. If you visit your loved one often in the nursing home, you will be able to more quickly and accurately pick up on warning signs that your loved one is not being treated properly.


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