One of the most nerve-wracking things about needing to find a nursing home for a loved one is the possibility of abuse. More and more it seems we hear stories of the people we trust with the care of our fragile family members abusing that trust and hurting their patients, sometimes with fatal consequences. If you or someone you know has a loved one in a nursing home where they suspect abuse or neglect, here are some signs to watch out for.
Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, tend to be common among immobile patients. That being said, if you notice your loved one presenting with bed sores, this can be one of the earliest visible signs of neglect. Bed sores develop when patients aren’t switched positions often enough, meaning there’s a high likelihood no one is checking in at the schedule they should be. In nursing homes especially, patients who can move should not be confined to bed and should never present with bed sores, and patients who cannot move should be helped to rotate between laying on either side or on their back to avoid developing bed sores. In a quality nursing home, bed sores are very, very rarely a problem.
There are some combative patients in nursing homes who do require medication, but you know your loved one, and if you sense something is off with them being sedated, follow your gut. This can be a sign that the nurses caring for the patients are so ineffective at their jobs as to completely lack in control over the patients, or it can be a red flag that the nurses are attempting to silence complaints with sedatives rather than treat or care for their patients.
Development of Dementia-like Symptoms
If your loved one entered the nursing home with their full mental faculties, a rapid decline can be a sign of emotional or psychological abuse. This can present in such ways as things like avoiding touch, rocking back and forth, thumb-sucking, or mumbling to themselves. Typically, this means your loved one is being ignored, scapegoated, intimidated, isolated, or otherwise terrorized, leading to a sudden emotional regression.
Instances of Elopement
No nursing home is infallible, but any that manages to lose your loved one is probably not a quality facility. This could be an indication that the home is understaffed, unqualified, or simply extremely poorly suited to caring for their patients. Another instance that falls under the umbrella is losing your loved one during scheduled outings, another sign that the nursing home is doing an ineffective job as keeping their patients safe.
Though it’s true that the elderly tend to be more infirm and suffer falls or other accidents that can result in injuries, there should never be a time where such a situation arises in the perceived safety of a nursing home. It’s entirely possible your loved one suffers what is just an accident, but it’s equally likely an abusive staff member used excessive force, neglected to monitor a fall risk, or allowed a situation to occur between two patients that resulted in violence. An attorney from a firm like Trammell and Mills Law Firm LLC can help your loved one get compensation for their suffering from these injuries.
Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is a hard one, made doubly so when the stresses of possible abuse or neglect weigh on your mind. Knowing what to look for is step one in intervening in possible abuse or neglect situations, so keep in mind some of these common signs if you’re worried about the standard of care provided to your loved one. You can also consult the Medicare website to conduct research on particular nursing homes.