Moving your aging grandparents or parents to a nursing home is always a hard decision to make. However, sometimes it is a necessary decision that has to be made to ensure that your loved one is kept safe and have the proper help needed to keep up with their growing list of ongoing health problems. Nursing home abuse is a huge concern that families often worry about when they have to make the decision to put their loved one in a nursing home or facility.
No one wants their loved one to suffer the consequences of nursing home abuse or neglect. Abuse can cause your loved one to suffer physical, mentally, and emotionally. A loved one may even be afraid to speak up and report the abuse to the staff or to family members for fear of getting someone in trouble. However, your loved one needs to know that abuse in any form is not acceptable and should never be tolerated. Plus, it is against the law.
Here are a few things to watch for after you find the right nursing home for your loved one:
This type of abuse may be easy to notice if your loved one has unexplained bruises, injuries, broken bones, or marks on their skin. However, it isn’t limited to just the obvious signs. Physical abuse also includes failure to give them their required medication, restraints, drugging them with unnecessary medications, or allowing another resident to cause physical harm.
Failure for the nursing home staff to neglect the basic needs and care for your loved one. The staff may fail to help your loved one change clothing, brush their teeth, comb their hair, clipping their nails, not helping them with their bathroom needs, not giving medications as prescribed by the doctor, bed sores, or other basic needs that need attention.
You probably wouldn’t expect to see this on the list; however, I wanted to make you aware of it because it does happen. Your loved one is in a vulnerable situation especially if they need help with their bathroom needs. Sexual abuse includes unwanted sexual touching, being coerced nudity with other residents or staff members, intercourse, having nude photos taken, or even rape. Look for bleeding around the vagina or anus, bruises on breasts or genitals, unusual stains that resemble blood in their undergarments, or unexplained sexual diseases or infections.
It is hard to believe that residents in a nursing home could be a victim of malnutrition. This is the number one problem that most nursing homes run into. Elderly residents usually have a variety of nutritional needs. Nursing homes don’t always provide meals that provide all of the essential nutrients that elderly residents need. It is important for the staff to monitor all patients and make changes to their diet based on their specific needs.
Staff must be aware that some patients may have dental problems which makes eating difficult, take medications that cause nausea or vomiting, or they a decreased appetite. Staff shortages and lack of education is the number one problem that nursing homes face. It is only going to get worse in the next several years as baby boomers start needing assisted living. Speak up if you notice that your loved one shows the signs and symptoms of malnutrition.
Without access to adequate fluids, it is easy for elderly patients to quickly become dehydrated. A patient might not have access to drinks anytime they want it. Instead, they rely on the staff to provide them with adequate fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can lead to serious medical problems including death.
Medication errors are another huge problem in nursing homes that are understaffed or don’t have the proper education to properly. Abuse includes: failing to give patients medication, passing out the wrong medication to the incorrect patient, failure to give the patient the proper dosage, or providing the wrong type of medication type to a patient who have special needs (for example giving a patient who can’t swallow a pill).
It is sad that we have to be on the lookout for nursing home abuse and neglect when we have to entrust our loved ones to care for our aging parents. If you suspect any form of abuse, you should contact a personal injury lawyer, such as Tampa personal injury attorney, to help you determine what course of action you should take to protect your loved one.
We also recommend that you come up with a code word with your loved one so that they can let you know that they are being abused without anyone else knowing. This word should be simple for them to remember but also be discreet. Once you hear the code word, then you can schedule a “date” with your loved one and take them to a safe location to talk. Elderly residents in a nursing home are often hesitant to speak up when they are being abused because they fear the repercussions.