During the holiday season, many of us make an extra-special effort to visit our older loved ones. Those confined to nursing facilities, even temporarily, often require the support of their family and friends. Sadly, not all nursing homes provide even a minimally competent standard of care. Some allow abuse to occur within their walls while others simply neglect their patients to the point of causing them severe medical problems. This constitutes nursing home abuse.
Loved ones are generally pretty instinctive about what is going on with their elder family members, but in other cases, it can be quite difficult to spot the signs of nursing home abuse. In this article, we will discuss what you should look for if you suspect your loved one might be neglected or abused.
There are a few telltale signs of neglect. In many cases, it may not be overtly obvious. Dehydration and malnutrition can become common conditions in poorly run nursing homes. In addition, signs of bedsores can be an indication that your loved one is not being cared for properly. Each of these increases your loved one’s chance of getting an infection or being unable to fight one off. It can also create health problems such as anemia, tooth decay, and more.
Neglect often happens because a nursing home is understaffed. The cause is not a lack of available employees, but that these facilities are often run on razor-thin profit margins and questionable corporate structures. Many nursing homes operate as a chain LLC that is owned by another company. In some of these situations, profits are turned over to a parent company in the form of exorbitant “rent” charges. In this environment, patient care often lapses as underpaid staff man understaffed nursing facilities. Patients in poorly run homes such as these have reported being left unattended for hours, not fed properly, and not given daily baths. The facilities themselves may be left a mess, further creating dangerous conditions for patients.
In some cases, neglect will not be the issue but rather outright abuse. Hospitals may, knowingly or unknowingly, hire staff with a checkered history or those who do not possess the proper mentality to work with patients, opening the door to potential abuse. Many of the patients targeted are essentially helpless, and some are memory care or dementia patients who may not fully understand the situation. In abuse cases like these, hospital staff may intimidate, threaten, and punish patients.
If your loved one has unexplained bruises or broken bones, those could both be signs of abuse. In addition, changes to your loved one’s behavior may indicate there is a problem. Pay attention to his or her behavior and listen to what your loved one says. If he or she appears afraid of staff or reluctant to see you leave, then that may be a sign that something is wrong.
The attorneys at Brassfield & Krueger, Ltd. can help you seek justice from a dysfunctional nursing home if they injure or abuse your loved one. Contact us to set up a free consultation.
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