Deciding to put your loved one in a nursing home facility can be a tough decision. Will they be properly cared for? Will they be healthy, happy and safe? Will it be the best thing for them in the long run?
The concerns are endless.
Fortunately, even though your loved one’s health may not be in your direct care anymore, there are still steps you can take to safeguard their well-being once they’re in a nursing home. Namely? You can watch for signs of neglect.
How You Can Stop Nursing Home Neglect
It’s sad to say, but nursing home neglect is quite common these days. In fact, about 10 percent of all nursing home patients suffer some sort of negligenceat the hands of their caregivers.
Now some of this may be minor, like failing to bathe them or change their sheets often, but many times, it’s more serious. Sometimes, it can even qualify as downright abuse.
That’s why as the family member of a nursing home patient, you have to be on full alert. Visit often, and pay close attention to your family member’s physical, mental and emotional health, as well as their surroundings and the people who work there. Be especially diligent to look for any of these red flags, which may indicate abuse is at hand:
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss – This could indicate malnutrition or a lack of nutrition altogether. They should be getting plenty of healthy, nutritious food at least three times a day.
- Bed sores, bruising, welts or lacerations on the skin – Bruises, welts and cuts can occur when a patient is pushed, pulled or struck by a member of the staff, or if they fall out of their bed or wheelchair while unattended. Bedsores, which can range from small, red splotches to open wounds, indicate the patient has been left to lie for prolonged periods of time. If they’re receiving proper care, your loved one should be rotated, moved and tended to often, so any of these signs should be considered a red flag.
- Emotional and mental changes – If your loved one has suddenly started rocking, mumbling to themselves, acting agitated or avoiding eye contact or conversation, this could point to some sort of emotional abuse from the caregivers – especially if it is out of character for them.
- Unsanitary conditions – Are the sheets clean? Has their clothing been changed since you last saw them? Does the room smell of urine or any other foul odor? Nursing home patients, as well as their surroundings, need to be kept clean and sanitary at all times. Not only are unsanitary conditions a health hazard, they also point to a general lack of concern from the staff and facility.
- Regular infections or illness – Occasional infections are bound to happen, especially in aging adults. But if your family member is getting regular, reoccurring ones, it may be a sign that abuse is at work.
- Incidents – Did your loved one suffer a broken bone? Did they “fall” out of their chair or bed? Chances are these weren’t just innocent mistakes, but the result of negligence – a caretaker (or caretakers) who failed to monitor your loved one’s health like they were supposed to.
If you spot any of these signs and suspect your family member may be the victim of nursing home neglect, don’t delay. Contact a malpractice attorney at Duffy & Duffy today. We’ll stop abuse in its tracks.