For those with family or friends living in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, visits are valuable time to focus as much energy and attention on a loved one. You may also want to think about the warning signs of abuse and neglect. If you keep an eye out for the three warning signs below, you may identify nursing home neglect or abuse before irreparable damage occurs.

Stained clothing, matted hair, or body odor

If your loved one is bedridden or wheelchair-bound, they depend on staff care for everything. Clothing that is clearly dirty or messy may indicate that your loved one is not getting the support they need from staff.

Poor personal hygiene may also be a sign that staff members are neglecting the daily needs of your loved one. Often, those living in nursing homes require assistance with going to the bathroom and getting dressed. Disheveled hair or clothing, body odor, or other indicators may mean that your loved one is unattended for long periods of time—increasing the risk of bedsores or medical emergencies going unaddressed.

Staff members that refuse to leave you alone

When you visit a facility to spend time with your loved one, it’s typical for staff to recognize you and engage you in small talk or conversations about your loved one’s needs.

But it’s another thing for staff to hover around and refuse to give you privacy during a visit. Staff that simply won’t leave you alone may act that way because they don’t want your loved one to tell you what they have experienced.

A noticeable lack of staff

While staff members that won’t leave you alone are of concern, being unable to locate a staff member is also an issue. Understaffing at nursing homes frequently gives rise to neglect claims. Understaffing can also lead to abuse. Overwhelmed workers may get frustrated and lash out at residents. It can also result in nursing homes lowering their employment standards and hiring unqualified staff.

Keeping an eye out for warning signs of possible nursing home abuse or neglect can help you protect your loved one while still keeping your focus on them during your visit.