About three percent of older adults live in nursing homes. Unfortunately, as many as one in 20 nursing home patients are victims of negligence or abuse. It’s very important that you, as the patient’s loved one, can recognize nursing home negligence and act if needed. Here are five common signs to look out for.
Your loved one is most likely in a nursing home because they need assistance with basic needs. The nursing home staff is required to help patients with personal hygiene, such as brushing their teeth and hair, bathing, and clipping their nails. If you visit your loved one and see that these things have not been done, be sure to say something.
Your loved one’s home may not have enough staff, which means crucial tasks go undone, or they simply may not be taking care of their patients appropriately. Either way, the hygiene of the patients can be a sign that their needs are being neglected.
Malnutrition or dehydration
Be on the lookout for any weight loss in your loved one. This could be a sign that he or she is not being fed the appropriate amount. You might also notice signs of dehydration, like dizziness or dry skin. Older adults are very likely to become dehydrated and may not realize that they are dehydrated.
It may be that the staff at the nursing home is not to blame for the dehydration, and in fact, a study showed that almost all the patients in one nursing home had some level of dehydration. But if you noticed other signs of neglect, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for dehydration and malnutrition.
Poor living conditions
In addition to maintaining your loved one’s personal hygiene, nursing home staff are also required to maintain clean and safe living conditions. This includes providing clean bedsheets, a tidy and sanitary living space, and clean kitchens in which they prepare the food. Failing to do these things can put the nursing home residents at risk for sickness or injury.
Nursing homes are legally obligated to provide their residents with safe and clean living spaces, so if they are failing to do so, they are not meeting their legal requirements. Plus, if they cannot keep the floor clean, they might be failing to meet your loved one’s needs elsewhere too. In cases like these, law firms like Davis Kelin Law Firm can help you determine your next steps.
Being a victim of neglect can cause psychological issues. When you visit your loved one, you may notice him or her acting fearful of the nursing home staff. Your loved one might not be open to speaking with you and may be wary of discussing the living conditions of the home.
Abused elderly might even become angry with their caretakers or even their family members for putting them in this situation. If you notice a drastic change in your loved one’s attitude, you may need to consider that neglect could be the cause.
Neglected medical needs
If your loved one is being neglected in the nursing home, odds are that he or she will experience some medical symptoms. Patients may receive the wrong medication or no medication at all, which could cause significant side effects. You may also notice bedsores that are going untreated or an increase in your loved one’s pain. It could also be something as simple as an untreated cut.
Anything medical that is not treated or addressed by the nursing home staff is neglect, and it’s crucial that you recognize your loved one’s unaddressed medical needs.