A nursing home may be a good option if you have an aging parent who requires medical care. These facilities offer medical care and living assistance to the elderly. Since they have qualified and experienced caregivers on board, residents and their families can be stress-free about long-term care.
However, there is another side of the picture as well. Countless incidents of seniors being abused in these facilities are reported every year. These include cases of physical violence, mental and sexual abuse, and medical neglect.
You cannot be too sure about the credibility of the nursing home even after checking their credentials and reviews. The worst part is that your loved one may not be able to report the problem due to physical or mental incapacity. But you can do your bit by keeping an eye on your relative. The idea is to look for evident and subtle signs of abuse or neglect.
Here are some telltale signs you should not ignore.
Poor personal hygiene
If your loved one seems to be missing out on personal hygiene, take it as a red flag. Look for the smallest signs like soiled clothing, unkempt hair, and dirty nails. In extreme cases, poor hygiene can lead to bedsores in aging residents with mobility issues. The concerns of poor hygiene extend beyond a shabby appearance. Lack of attention to the basic requirements can lead to disease in the elderly. Ask your parent explicitly about the quality of care. Do not hesitate to discuss the concern with the nursing home caregivers. After all, your relative must get the services you pay for.
The elderly are prone to falls due to balance problems and weakened muscles. But do not overlook injuries if they happen often because they could indicate something amiss. Bruises, cuts, and broken bones suggest issues like unattended trip hazards, wet floors, and poor supervision at the facility.
Even worse, these could be indications of assault by the nursing home employees and other residents. The risk runs high for a person suffering from problems like dementia because they may not even recognize or remember abusive incidents.
Ensure proper investigations for frequent injuries. Getting advice from a group of nursing home abuse attorneys is a good option. They can help you raise an alarm legally and get justice for your abused relative.
Unexpected weight loss
Unexpected weight loss is another telltale sign of nursing home abuse. You may notice that your loved one has lost weight after moving to full-time care. Indications like low energy levels, irritability, confusion, and lethargy are reasons to worry. Although these signs are related to aging, they may also happen due to malnutrition and dehydration.
Check the diet plans and ask about the daily meals from your parent and caregivers. Not giving attention to weight loss can cause complications down the line.
Missing money and property
Besides physical and emotional neglect, financial abuse is another issue residents may come across. The staff at a poorly-run nursing home may coerce residents to give their money and belongings and even write checks for them.
Patients suffering from mental health issues such as dementia may experience financial abuse unknowingly.
Keep an eye on your relative’s bank account and personal belongings. If something goes missing, you must definitely cross-check facts. Legal action is the best respite in such cases.
Lack of compassion in caregivers
Every time you visit your relative in the assisted-living facility, be sure to check the attitude of the staff. A lack of compassion in caregivers is a sign to watch out for. At times, they may not behave normally when you are around and abuse the residents later. Watch out for subtle indications like nervous or anxious behavior of your loved one when caregivers are around.
Check whether residents are taken out for group activities and outings. If there are no such events, they are probably not getting the expected standard of care. Overall, signs like unqualified staff and high turnover rates at the nursing home show that something is not right.
Do not overlook the situation if you have a valid reason to suspect abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home.
Connect with a specialist lawyer and gather evidence to prove the fault of the management and caregivers. Thankfully, the legal system offers protection and compensation for such victims. But you need an expert to validate your claim and ensure that your loved one gets justice. Transferring your relative elsewhere should be a top priority.