We all care deeply about our elderly family members, but there may come a time when they need specialized care and attention. If you decide to move them into an assisted living facility or nursing home, you expect that they will be given the best care available. Unfortunately, what these facilities advertise and the services they provide sometimes differ.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a growing problem in this country, and it’s heartbreaking when you find out that this has happened to someone you love. A nursing home can neglect the needs of its patients by ignoring their medical, personal hygiene, emotional, and basic needs. Here are some of the signs of nursing home neglect that you should be on the lookout for with your loved ones.
- Reduced Personal Hygiene
Any nursing home facility has the responsibility to ensure that each resident has their basic needs met. This includes handling their basic personal hygiene. If your loved one cannot bathe, get dressed, go to the bathroom, or brush their teeth on their own, the nursing home staff should help. If you notice a reduction in personal hygiene, it may be because the staff is failing in their duties.
If your relative is suffering from malnutrition, there is a high probability of nursing home neglect. A person who isn’t fed or given enough water to drink is going to experience rapid weight loss and dehydration. Many older people are unable to eat a full meal without assistance. If a nursing home must feed a hundred patients at once, they may not want to staff the facility to handle this task. Worse, malnutrition can lead to deteriorating health and even death in an already weak system.
- Unsafe or Unsanitary Living Conditions
There are rigorous standards in place for nursing homes and assisted living facilities that relate to safety and sanitary living conditions. If you visit a nursing home and find that the halls are cluttered, and the floors are dirty, this is your first red flag. Your loved one should also have a room that contains a clean bathroom, clean sheets, and clean clothing. If these items are not present, this is evidence of neglect.
- Frequent Injuries
An elderly person who is forced to struggle to use the restroom, get dressed, or take a shower, is more likely to suffer from frequent injuries. If your relative is suffering from numerous falls, broken bones, bruises, or head injuries, they may be neglected by the nursing home staff. When they are given the proper level of care and support, these types of injuries should be minimal or non-existent.
- Psychological Distress or Issues
Has your loved one shown any significant changes in mood or personality? If they appear anxious or depressed, this could be related to much more than having to adjust to a new environment. Look for signs of fear around caregivers or note if they have a reluctance to talk about their nursing home conditions. Any of these could be symptoms of a medical issue, but they could also be signs of nursing home neglect, so it’s important not to ignore emotional changes.
- Loss of Mobility
One of the services that a care facility should provide is assistance with mobility. Your loved one needs to stay as active as possible so that their physical condition doesn’t continue to deteriorate. They should be encouraged to move around and exercise when possible, If the nursing home is understaffed, they will be more likely to leave residents in their beds around the clock, which is going to result in decreased mobility and painful bedsores.
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect
If you suspect that a loved one is being neglected or abused in their nursing home or other care facility, report it to the proper authorities as quickly as possible. Even if your loved one does not voice concerns, you may have to be their advocate in these matters.
You should also seek legal advice from an attorney who has experience with nursing home abuse and neglect cases. At Burge & Burge, PC, our Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers offer legal support to victims of nursing home abuse so that the parties responsible for these acts can be held accountable. Contact our Birmingham compassionate nursing home abuse attorneys now at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.