No one expects their loved ones to suffer neglect in a nursing home or memory care facility. When you decide to place someone dear in a nursing home or memory care facility, you believe they will receive the kindness, care, and attentiveness they deserve. Unfortunately, the reality does not always match the comforting assurances nursing homes offer as nursing home residents are often put in traumatic, painful situations.
This problem is far more widespread than we would like to believe, with 2 out of every 3 staff members at nursing homes and long-term care facilities reporting they have personally been responsible for abuse in the past year.
But the problem is not just abuse, which entails everything from physical abuse to financial exploitation. In some cases, the issue is instead neglect which—while not outright abuse—can still cause significant pain and anguish for nursing home residents.
Here, we are going to take a look at how to recognize the signs of neglect in a nursing home so that loved ones of nursing home residents are able to spot the warning signs as quickly as possible to put a stop to it.
Many nursing home residents need assistance moving around, which can cause them to spend far too long lying in bed or sitting in a wheelchair. This can lead to bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, which are painful sores that can result in serious medical conditions, including infections and even cancer, if not treated properly.
Bed sores can also be caused by poor nutrition and dehydration as well as excess friction and pressure put on the skin. If you notice your loved one has bed sores, it should be an immediate red flag and raise concerns about the quality of care your loved one is receiving.
Sudden behavioral changes can also be signs of neglect in a nursing home. It could be a result of a change in medication or signal something about how they are being treated by the nursing home staff. Or it could be a sign that they are developing a disease or condition that needs treatment.
Ultimately, you know your loved one best, meaning changes are going to be most obvious to you and you should act as a strong advocate for your loved one.
As with behavioral changes, dehydration or malnourishment can be a sign that there is something more serious going on. That could be a medication change or a medical condition, but it may also point to a deficiency in the care they are receiving from the nursing home.
Oftentimes, dehydration is caused by inadequate staffing, meaning your loved one is not receiving the individual care they need to be healthy.
Often, residents require a good deal of assistance maintaining personal hygiene. They may need help bathing, changing bandages and diapers, and even brushing their teeth.
When you begin noticing that these are slipping, it may also be a sign that the nursing is not properly staffed and your loved one is not receiving the care they deserve.
One of the risks of poor hygiene is recurring illnesses or infections. When a nursing home staff is not properly bathing residents or cleaning linens, it can cause illness and infection to continuously spread around a nursing home.
Recurring illness or infection can also be caused by poor ventilation, overcrowding, and the overuse of antibiotics—all of which signal a problem of neglect.
Like sudden changes in behavior, sudden weight loss can indicate that something is wrong with how your loved one is being treated. It could be that the nursing staff is not ensuring they are eating enough or it could also signal a deeper medical issue, including dental problems that are making it difficult to chew. It might also indicate a psychological problem, including depression, which can occur as a result of nursing home neglect.
These are also serious problems, which is why you should never take sudden weight loss lightly but instead figure out the underlying cause as soon as possible.
One of the earliest signs of neglect in a nursing home may be recognizing that your loved one’s living conditions are not as clean as they should be. This type of neglect can lead to so many other problems, including many that we’ve discussed here, such as recurring illnesses or infections. It can also lead to pest infestations and affect the psychological well-being of your loved one.
Nursing homes and memory care facilities have a duty to treat each resident under their supervision with dignity, respect, and attentiveness. That said, they are businesses that are sometimes more concerned with their bottom line than they are with their residents.
At Boller & Vaughan, we are passionate advocates for those suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect. We have significant experience fighting for the compensation that nursing home neglect victims deserve for the injuries, pain, and suffering they have endured.
If you believe your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, please reach out to our Madison nursing home abuse attorneys as soon as possible for a FREE consultation.
Call us today at (608) 268-0268 or contact us online today. We welcome clients from across Wisconsin, including Madison and other nearby areas.
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