Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you have an elderly family member in a care facility, there is always a chance that they could be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect. This type of abuse and neglect is a growing problem across the U.S., where the level of wrongdoing can vary depending on the individual case.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 40 million people in this country are now age 65 and older. Unfortunately, many cases of nursing home abuse aren’t reported for a variety of reasons. The senior could be embarrassed about their circumstances, may be afraid of losing access to care, or might not be in a position to speak for themselves.
Just one study by Cornell University in New York found that the abuse rate was 24 times greater than the number of cases referred to legal authorities or social services. For this reason, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse so that you can intervene as quickly as possible. If you notice any of these seven signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, please contact our office immediately.
It is the responsibility of the staff in a nursing home to help patients with mobility issues and to prevent falls. Any fall is a serious issue, even more so for elderly or infirm patients, but more than one fall indicates several potential problems. The nursing home could be understaffed, and a resident could simply be fending for themselves. The staff may also be ignoring residents, resulting in dangerous conditions and severe physical injuries to patients.
Dehydration is both a life-threatening condition in a senior and a common issue in nursing home abuse cases. When your loved one isn’t receiving enough hydration, their bodily functions can begin to shut down. Signs of dehydration include dry skin and cracked lips.
If your loved one is losing weight rapidly it could be due to a medical condition, but the cause might also be nursing home neglect. They may not be getting fed on a regular schedule, not getting the help they need to eat their meals or being fed the right types of food for their condition. Not only should your loved one get enough to eat each day, but it should also be nutritious food that will help them maintain their good health.
Bedsores are caused by prolonged pressure or rubbing on sensitive areas of the body. These are also called decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, and they are not something that “normally occur” in nursing home patients. These sores are painful inflammations of the skin that can eat all the way through the muscle to the bone if not adequately cared for. If your loved one has bed sores, this is a strong indicator that they are either being neglected or abused.
Nursing home staff may be handling patients in a rough manner, which can cause injuries and bruising. Falls can also cause significant bruising. If you notice that your loved one has bruises, make sure that they get immediate medical attention and ask that the cause of the bruises be evaluated and documented.
If your loved one has become withdrawn, agitated, or uncommunicative, it may be time to investigate possible nursing home abuse or neglect. See if they behave differently around certain staff members or appear afraid to speak to you about their experiences. These are common signs of abuse.
When nursing home profits come before care, these centers are either understaffed or hire untrained workers. When understaffing or poorly trained staff exists, nursing home abuse and neglect is often a negative outcome. Patients won’t receive medication on time, if at all, and basic hygiene suffers. Bed linens aren’t changed, showers are skipped, and soiled undergarments are left in place. These are just a few examples of the many dangerous and potentially harmful conditions that could happen result from staffing issues at long-term care facilities.
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact us right away or call our office at (251) 473-6691. The experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys at the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, L.L.C. can help you report your case to the proper officials in Alabama and seek the compensation that you and your family may be due.