- Insufficient staffing to provide adequate and safe care.
- Not responding to residents' needs in a timely or humane fashion (toilet, liquids, pain).
- Staff's unresponsiveness to justified complaints by residents and family members.
- Fear of retaliation after complaints are registered.
- Staff's lack of ability to recognize a change in residents' condition or the signs or symptoms leading to serious illness.
- Staff's lack of skills and knowledge to safely perform medical procedures and lack of ability to understand and follow doctors' orders.
- Lack of communication between staffing shifts and between nursing staff and physicians, often leading to the discomfort and harm of residents.
- Unsanitary conditions, breeding infections and illnesses.
- Insufficient supplies to properly care for residents.
- Constant loss or theft of clothing, personal items, and valuables.
- Administrators' and staff's misrepresentation of facts about the actual care given to residents.
- Intimidation of residents (who are all extremely vulnerable).
- Medical records that are incomplete, inaccurate, fraudulent or have been destroyed.
- Bad tasting, poorly prepared, nutritionally deficient food.
- Insensitive, uncaring, rude, and abusive treatment of helpless residents and a general lack of compassion for all residents.
- Administrators' and staff's belief that the everyday care level in most nursing homes, which constitutes neglect and abuse, is an acceptable care level.
- Administrators who abuse the power of their position.
Although such complaints are few and far between at the nursing home where I hang out, I have heard a number of them once or twice over the last 20 years. That's to be expected; I guess I'd be pretty suspicious of a place that every resident loved with the fervor of a Stepford wife.
Nevertheless, if you're looking for a great facility, you'll want to find one that has reduced such complaints to an absolute minimum -- which underscores the importance of doing your homework.
Medicare offers a handy checklist as well as a searchable database the lets you explore, with a few clicks of the mouse, the quality rankings of facilities in your area. And your state no doubt publishes a ton of information online; just to give you an example, here is Wisconsin's official portal into a wealth of nursing-home data.
It bears repeating: When touring the facilities on my short list, I would make every attempt to talk with a few residents themselves, and their families, perhaps asking about the items on the list above. And I would ask about each facility's Christian offerings, favoring those with the most robust selection; it's a great indicator of staff members who reflect the love of Christ in every aspect of care.