Thankfully, residents are well cared for in the vast majority of care homes. Abuse or neglect is very rare. However, it’s worth being aware of the signs that someone isn’t being treated well. These include:
- Pressure sores
- Weight loss, dehydration or malnutrition
- Failure to take their medication
- Unexplained bruising or other injuries
- Appearing to be afraid of certain members of staff, or not wanting to be left alone with them
- Missing money or personal possessions.
Listen to your relative if they tell you something is wrong. If they have dementia they may find it hard to communicate, but look out for changes in their appearance, mood or behaviour.
If you feel the neglect could be resolved with improved care, speak to the care home manager. Ask what they’re going to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. They should investigate your complaint, let you know the outcome and update your relative’s care plan to make sure your concerns are addressed.
If the situation is more serious, contact the Adult Social Services Safeguarding Team at the local council immediately. They will launch an investigation and make sure your relative is safe. If you believe a crime has been committed or your relative is at immediate risk, call 999.
You may also want to report the abuse to the Care Quality Commission (CQC). While they don’t investigate individual cases of abuse, they will keep a log of it and may bring forward one of the routine inspections of the care home, or do a more in-depth inspection. In Wales, contact the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales; in Scotland, contact the Care Inspectorate; and in Northern Ireland, contact the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.