If your loved one has been moved to a nursing home in the final years of life, you trust caregivers to give the medical care, support and stability your loved one needs to feel safe. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are all too common with the 3.2 million adults that live in long-term care and nursing home facilities throughout the country. Family members should always be aware of the signs to watch for. If you fear your loved one is being neglected or abused by the nursing home, watch for the following signs.
1. Poor hygiene
One of the most basic jobs given to the nursing home staff is to aid with personal hygiene tasks. Even things as simple as clipping nails or brushing teeth may require help, and staff should be well-versed in how to help patients. If a nursing home is understaffed or staffed with poorly trained professionals, one of the first things to go is basic hygiene. If you notice that your loved one is missing out on help with getting dressed, combing hair or doing other daily hygiene routines, it may be a sign of neglect.
2. Living conditions
Federal law requires all nursing homes to provide a safe, comfortable, sanitary environment for residents to live. If they fail to meet those conditions and state requirements for security and safety, your loved one may be at risk. If there is a lack of clean bedding or bathroom areas, there may be a problem with staffing at the nursing home.
3. Unexplainable injuries
While a patient or resident may become more fragile and ill with age, there are certain injuries that signify a bigger problem with the home. Watch for head injuries, bruises or broken bones as significant signs of abuse or neglect. If the resident is not receiving help when needed, he or she may attempt to do things personally and incur injuries. The CDC estimates that the average resident in a nursing home falls 2.6 times each year, and falls can be deadly at certain ages.
4. Poor physical and emotional health
It is not just injuries that you should watch for. When a patient is left unattended, many physical problems can occur, including bed sores, dehydration, unexplained weight loss and frequent infections.
Also, if your loved one seems to have emotional outbursts and mood swings or gets upset when left in the presence of a caregiver, this may be a sign that some type of abuse is going on.
Protect your family member
If you fear your family member has been a victim of abuse or neglect at a nursing home, you may benefit from speaking to an attorney about your options.