Unfortunately, elder abuse and neglect occur in many nursing homes across the country. As you search for the right nursing home for your loved one, it’s important to know what types of abuse or neglect to watch out for. Read on to discover common kinds of nursing home neglect and learn how to protect your loved one.
Wandering and Elopement
Elopement and wandering occur when a nursing home resident leaves the facility without permission. Wandering is a significant concern for patients with mental conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s. Inadequate staffing levels can also allow for elopement and wandering. In addition, if a facility lacks the necessary safety mechanisms to prevent elopement, this can be grounds for a neglect lawsuit against the facility.
If you notice a lack of supervision during visits or have concerns about a facility’s security, consider choosing a different nursing home for your loved one.
Bedsores (Pressure Ulcers)
A pressure ulcer is an injury resulting from an extended lack of movement. Constant pressure on any area of the body leads to tissue damage, and if unaddressed, this damage can lead to infection. Bedsores can range from mildly painful to severely infected if not treated promptly. Pressure sores are most common in nursing home residents who are bedridden, use a wheelchair, or are otherwise unable to change positions independently.
If you notice any of the following signs of pressure ulcers, speak up and get your loved one medical attention:
- Redness or swelling around the affected area
- Skin that feels warm to the touch
- Pain when moving or touching the area
- Changes in skin color
Malnutrition and Dehydration
One of the nursing home staff’s most essential duties is adequately feeding and hydrating those in their care. Failing to do so can lead to malnutrition and dehydration. In some cases, neglecting to feed or hydrate a resident can even lead to death.
Listen to your loved one. If they mention a lack of food, speak with the facility’s staff. Common symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration include:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
What To Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you believe your loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you can take steps to help them. First, report any suspicious activity or concerns about their health to the facility’s administration. If you don’t have faith in the administration’s response, there are still steps you can take to protect your loved one from continued nursing home neglect.
First, remove your loved one from the facility. After your loved one is safe, contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your options. Your loved one may have a right to compensation for the medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages that resulted from mistreatment.