When you have a loved one in a nursing home facility, it is typically because the patient is no longer able to care for themselves. They have come to require the care and attention of the staff for their basic needs on a daily basis. Yet, far too many will become victims of abuse and neglect in their nursing homes. In fact, this is such a frequent occurrence that research has been done to identify the causes, and there are many advocating for effective solutions to this problem.
Why Are There So Many Cases of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Patients in nursing home facilities are vulnerable to abuse and neglect for many reasons. They are more likely to suffer from medical issues that prevent them from protecting themselves, from communicating their needs, and from telling anyone what is happening. They may suffer from issues like dementia, and they be isolated from others. In some cases, victims of nursing home abuse are capable of telling someone, but are too afraid or embarrassed to do so.
Other contributors to the high frequency of nursing home abuse and neglect cases include the lack of training and qualification of staff members, the common issue of understaffing, the lack of screening of staff members who may have a history of violent crimes, and the lack of supervision of staff members who wind up with complete control over a patient’s wellbeing.
What Can You Do To Stop Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
If you have a friend or relative in a nursing home, then there is a lot that you can do to confront the widespread problem of nursing home abuse and neglect. Primarily, you can ensure that your loved ones are not isolated by visiting them as frequently as possible.
Many people don’t do this enough, for a variety of reasons. They may feel sad or guilty because their loved one is in a nursing home, perhaps because they themselves could not provide the care that is required. They may simply assume that their loved one is being properly cared for.
Some people feel too emotional at seeing their loved one in bad health, especially in cases where the loved one has developed a condition like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and can no longer recognize them. This is also true in cases where a loved one has a terminal condition. Nobody wants to watch someone that they care for go through such trials.
No matter what the reasons are, there is no just cause for leaving your loved one to face the challenges of aging and ill health alone. No matter how difficult it may be for you to deal with these issues, you must take the time to visit your loved one and make sure that they are properly cared for and not suffering from abuse or neglect. If you do notice the signs of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, you must take action. Do not write anything off as a onetime event or an accident without looking further into it.
How Can You Recognize the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Because nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, there are many different signs that you should be on the lookout for. You should not simply wait for something obvious to happen, and assume the best until it does. Rather, you should actively look for the indications that your loved one might be neglected or abused.
For instance, you might not notice bed sores and infections if you don’t look for them. These occur when your loved one is neglected, not moved frequently, and not cared for properly. They may be found on the patients’ back, legs, and bottom, for example. You also need to watch for signs of malnutrition and dehydration. Common signs include unexplained weight loss, dry skin, and expressions of hunger or thirst. Even if your loved one is not communicative, you might notice that they are eagerly consuming any food or drink that you offer.
It is also important to be aware of the causes of any falls and broken bones. Although the elderly may be more prone to falling down, this does not mean that it is okay for this to happen. The staff at the nursing home should be there to assist your loved one and prevent falls.
You can also keep an eye out for any indications that your loved one is being chemically restrained. This means that the staff are using medications inappropriately to keep the patient immobile. There are also cases where the staff does not provide necessary medications, and you may notice symptoms of issues that were previously controlled by such medications.
Finally, pay attention to your loved ones words and behaviors. If they are able to communicate, then you can talk to them about their experiences and how they feel. Even if they cannot communicate, you can pay attention to their mood and demeanor. Do they seem depressed, anxious, or fearful? These could be indications of neglect or physical or emotional abuse.
What Can You Do When You See Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If you notice any indications that nursing home abuse or neglect are occurring in the facility where your loved one resides, even if it seems to involve an entirely different patient, and even if you aren’t completely sure that it is occurring, you can do something about it. You can contact the police and speak to an attorney so that the situation can be investigated.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, you may be able to recover compensation for your loved one, and the facility may be shut down and may even face criminal charges. Call the experienced Spartanburg nursing home neglect attorneys at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss the unique circumstances surrounding the case of abuse or neglect for your loved one and learn more about what you can do to seek justice and recover compensation.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.