AARP’s Signs of a Bad Nursing Home

By American Geriatrics Society (AGS)

Not every nursing home is a great place. AARP published the following list of warning signs of a bad nursing home. If you encounter one or more of these negative indications, run, don’t walk, out of there and definitely do not place your loved one in that facility.

  • Odors: A strong smell of urine and feces indicates a shortage of staff to help residents to the bathroom or to keep residents and the facility clean.
  • Lack of privacy: Residents should not be undressed or partly dressed in rooms or hallways in view of guests and other residents. Staff should knock before entering rooms.
  • Lack of dignity: No resident should be spoken to disrespectfully.
  • Unanswered calls for help: Every call bell or cry for help should be attended to promptly.
  • Loneliness and inactivity: People-watching is fun, but residents shouldn’t spend hours on end sitting at the nurses’ station, front door, or in front of a TV.
  • Lack of help with eating: Residents who can’t feed themselves shouldn’t spend mealtime with full trays in front of them.
  • Restraints: Restraints are no longer allowed in nursing homes so you shouldn’t see them in use. Vests and other devices that tie or otherwise hold people down in their beds and wheelchairs are dangerous and humiliating. Good nursing homes seek safe and respectful ways to protect residents from falls and wandering.