While many nursing homes are a safe and caring place to take your loved one when you can no longer provide for their needs, others fall short of the industry standard level of quality care. Nursing homes can be negligent, careless, or even abusive in their interactions with elderly and/or disabled patients, and often, patients aren’t in a position to defend themselves.
Here are 10 signs of nursing home abuse and what you can do if you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing facility.
1. Sudden Behavior Changes in Your Loved One
If your loved one has been harmed in a nursing facility, he or she may exhibit sudden behavior changes, including but not limited to:
- Mood changes
- Depression and sadness
- Unwillingness to speak
- Temperamental outbursts
2. Sudden Physical Changes in Your Loved One
If your loved one has sudden physical changes, such as an unexplained loss of mobility, nursing home neglect or abuse could be the culprit. Be aware of your loved one’s day to day physical activity so you can notice any changes that may occur.
3. Unsanitary Conditions in the Facility
When you visit your loved one, pay attention to the conditions of the facility. Are the rooms and bathrooms clean? Is the cafeteria clean? Unsanitary conditions could mean that the hospital is understaffed and may be taking poor care of their patients.
4. Poor Hygiene
One of the primary responsibilities of nursing home staff is to ensure that each patient is clean and well groomed. If your loved one exhibits poor hygiene, especially if hygiene was something important to your loved one prior to entering the nursing home, your loved one could be the victim of neglect.
5. Unexplained Injuries or Injuries with Poor Excuses
If your loved one suddenly develops broken bones or bed sores, you’ll want to ask the nursing home what happened. If the nursing home does not know how the injuries occurred or seems to come up with awkward excuses, you’ll want to be on alert for other potential injuries and signs of abuse.
6. Unwillingness of Facility Staff to Speak with You
If you ask the nursing home facility staff questions, especially pertaining to a potential issue with your loved one’s care, you should be concerned if the staff seems unwilling to speak with you. A reputable, well-staffed nursing home should be happy to answer any questions you have about your loved one’s care.
7. Unexplained Weight Loss
If your loved one begins losing weight without the explanation of an illness or injury, it’s possible that they may not be getting adequate nutrition. It may be possible that your loved one is no longer able to eat without some assistance and the assistance is simply not being provided. In some cases, patients may even be left in their rooms during mealtimes if they are not ambulatory and able to get to the dining hall on their own.
8. Fearfulness in Your Loved One Around Nursing Home Staff
Any fearfulness your loved one displays around nursing home staff should be heavily scrutinized. This is a significant red flag that abuse or neglect is occurring, even if your loved one cannot speak to tell you what may have happened.
9. Items Disappearing from Your Loved One’s Room
Another form of nursing home abuse is theft. If your loved one’s personal effects – especially valuable ones such as jewelry – go missing, you should be concerned. This is particularly true in cases where your loved one has no recollection of the item(s) having gone missing.
10. Too Few Nurses or Hospital Personnel on the Floor
When you visit your loved one’s nursing facility, pay special attention to how many nurses or staff members are on the floor. Go during busy times during the day and slower times at night. Walk around and try to find someone to help you. Is there staff readily available for your needs? If not, this could be a red flag that the facility is understaffed and therefore does not have enough nurses to properly care for your loved one.
What to Do If You Suspect Neglect or Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, the first step is to ensure that the abuse stops immediately. You may be able to lodge a complaint against the nursing home on your own, however, many nursing homes simply defend themselves and it’s your word against theirs.
However, if you work with a nursing home abuse lawyer, this can put pressure on nursing homes to ensure that they are abiding by the law and all regulations. Often, a simple letter from a lawyer is enough to get a nursing home that may be neglecting your loved one to shape up. If you suspect that more egregious abuse is going on, your attorney can assist you in bringing a claim forward for damages.
Contact the Law Offices of Mazow | McCullough, PC today for more information by calling 855-693-9084.