How to spot nursing home negligence

It is tough watching parents get older. They forget more things, and tasks that used to be easy are no longer so simple. You want to make sure your parents are taken care of, but you may not have the ability to care for them yourself. Nursing homes can provide the care your parents need, as well as opportunities to socialize with peers.

However, not all nursing homes are created equal. Some facilities promise to treat residents well, but the reality is much different. Here are five signs your loved one may be suffering from nursing home negligence.

Sudden loss of weight

If you notice your loved one has suddenly lost a lot of weight, this is cause for alarm. He or she may not be receiving adequate nutrition, or if your loved one requires assistance with eating, it is possible no one is helping him or her eat. Your loved one may also be suffering from an illness that is causing him or her to lose weight. Whatever the case, talk to your loved one alone, and ask him or her what is going on.

Bruises, broken bones or other fall injuries

Your loved one also may have bruises, broken bones or other injuries that occur after a fall. Though falling is common among the elderly, certain unsafe conditions cause falls. Perhaps your loved one needs help in the bathroom, and he or she is not getting that assistance. Or maybe slippery floors, bad lighting or other obstacles caused your loved one to fall. If you notice evidence of a fall, do not just chalk it up to old age. Ask your loved one what happened.

Poor personal hygiene

Changes in personal hygiene should also be cause for concern. Unwashed hair, dirty clothes or untrimmed nails are signs your loved one is not receiving the care he or she needs from the nursing home staff. You can try addressing it with the staff, but if conditions do not change, you will want to explore other options.

Presence of bedsores

Having bedsores is a serious sign your loved one is not receiving proper care. Bedsores develop when someone is immobile for too long. According to the Mayo Clinic, poor diet and hydration can also cause bedsores. If your loved one has mobility issues, bedsores are a sign the staff is not helping them move around enough. Bedsores can deteriorate rapidly and left untreated, may cause paralysis, coma and even death. Address this issue immediately.

Extreme changes in behavior

Your loved one normally has a sunny disposition, but suddenly, he or she seems withdrawn or unhappy. Any extreme changes in behavior could be caused by ill-treatment. Your loved one may be suffering from emotional abuse or may have been threatened about keeping quiet about poor conditions at the nursing home. Get your loved one alone, and then ask why he or she seems unhappy or scared. You may even need to take your loved one on an excursion before he or she feels comfortable talking about bad treatment at the nursing home.

Any of these signs may indicate nursing home negligence. You can try to address the issues with the nursing home staff or management, but sometimes, this will not do you any good. If your loved one has suffered a serious injury due to negligence, you can pursue legal action against the nursing home. You may be able to file a personal injury or medical malpractice suit to hold the nursing home responsible for its substandard care.

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