Unfortunately, nursing home negligence and abuse are all too common. In many cases, negligence leads to severe injury or illness. In some cases, neglect can be fatal.
You expect that the facility in which your loved one lives is going to treat them with dignity, respect, and care. You don't choose a nursing home for your loved one with the expectation of neglect or abuse. The law agrees with you.
If you notice any of these following signs, your loved one may be experiencing negligence and you may have cause to consult with a lawyer.
Even individuals who are confined to bed need to move to prevent bedsores. If your loved one has bedsores, this is an indicator of possible neglect.
Bedsores look like unevenly colored spots on the skin, sometimes releasing pus. Your loved one may complain of soreness or pain caused by the sores.
2. Improper Dental Hygiene
Oral hygiene is critical. In recent years, patients' families have accused some nursing homes of neglecting the dental needs of patients — even the nursing homes with healthcare and dental insurance. If the nursing home has not brushed your loved one's teeth regularly, you should watch out for other potential warning signs of neglect.
3. Increased Mobility Issues
You should expect the nursing home to provide mobility assistance for your loved one. If your loved one does not receive the exercise he or she needs to maintain muscle mass, you may see a slip in mobility.
Unfortunately, elderly individuals are susceptible to dehydration, and the consequences can be fatal. Some residents of the home may struggle to swallow or to communicate with nursing home staff that they have problems.
Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, mouth ulcers, dull skin, hallucinations, and even disorientation. Medications and illness can contribute to dehydration as well.
Malnutrition is a serious issue among individuals living in nursing homes. In fact, about one-fifth of nursing home residents may have experienced malnutrition in some sense. Signs of malnutrition include cognitive impairment, weight loss, depression, and difficulty swallowing.
6. Social Isolation
For individuals who are ill or away from home, some sense of social isolation may initially appear normal. Nursing homes that are not negligent will provide social groups and activities for their residents. Additionally, staff members should provide some warmth.
Additionally, social isolation may be a sign that something else is wrong. For instance, isolation is common among individuals who have had someone sexually abuse them and are afraid of retaliation or disbelief.
7. Environmental Hazards
Environmental hazards are like a neon sign indicating potential neglect. After all, a home that keeps its residents safe focuses on maintaining clear walkways in acknowledgment of possible mobility issues.
Look for grab bars in bathrooms as well. A bathroom without a grab bar could make for an easy place for your loved one to fall. Getting in and out of the shower can be especially difficult to manage for those living with disabilities.
8. Depression, Anxiety, or Fear
Nobody should have to live in fear of their life or health, but many do. Depression, anxiety, and fear are not uncommon in seniors, but extreme levels of these emotions may be cause for concern. Look for signs that your loved one is withdrawing or not participating in regular activities.
If you feel that your loved one is in danger or that the staff neglect your loved one, you have options. You may be able to sue a nursing home for injuries or illness prompted by neglect or abuse.
Call Steven W. Harris, Attorney At Law to learn more about personal injury lawsuits and your legal options. Set up a consultation with a professional who understands your situation and wants to help you move forward.