Placing a parent in a nursing home is not an easy decision. Even if you and other family members will be visiting them frequently, there is still a lot of time when no one will be there. While most homes have wonderful, loving staff who will properly care for your loved one, neglect and abuse can and do happen. You must be aware of the signs of emotional and physical abuse and neglect. You do not need to have it take up the majority of your visits, but you should make sure to check things out each time you see your parent. Here are a few things to observe every time.

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

If the patient has a clear mind and can talk to you, ask them about their day and how they feel about where they are and the people who work with them. Do not dismiss any issues they may have. Listen to what they say and address any problems with the staff. It is also important to be there at times when the staff is interacting with the patient. Watch how your loved one responds to the staff. Sometimes they may be afraid to tell you about a problem. If you notice hesitation or fear of any kind, there could be a problem.

Physical Check

Take the time to look over your parent. If you notice bruises or sores, ask how they got them. Talk to the staff about your findings. Make a note to keep that will provide a reference to what you saw. On your next visit, be sure to check that the area is healing properly.


Regardless of how busy a nursing home is, the staff needs to ensure all the patients receive adequate care. If you notice your parent is dirty or unkempt, ask why. Weight loss is another indication that something is wrong. When asking your parent about their day, please pay attention to how much interaction with others they receive. 

Talk with the staff supervisors at the first sign of any problem. If things do not improve or you have evidence or proof that something is being done wrong without any signs of improvement, find a way to remove your parent from the facility and contact a nursing home neglect lawyer. They can tell you the best course of action for the situation. You may get some type of monetary compensation to help offset the bills you end up with due to removing your parent. At the very least, legal action will stop other patients from receiving bad treatment or being neglected.