Unfortunately, there are many kinds of elder abuse. It’s a tragedy any time those who cared for us are hurt and taken advantage of as they age. One of the most pervasive types of nursing home abuse is their neglect by staff. Because the elderly are in a natural state of decline due to age, it can be difficult to spot health decline that results from neglect. Those who have loved ones in a nursing home should be extra diligent about signs of neglect in their loved one’s nursing home. Because signs aren’t obvious, it may take many visits and much dedication to discover this insidious form of abuse.
How to Spot Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect can come in many forms. Here are a few troubling examples of how nursing homes can neglect those they should be caring for:
Neglect of Basic Needs
Though it may seem unthinkable that a nursing home would neglect the most basic needs of their patients, it happens all the time. It is sadly common for those in a nursing home to suffer from malnutrition and dehydration. Look for signs that your loved one doesn’t have basic needs (such as water and food). These signs could include weight loss, confusion, or sunken eyes.
Neglect of Personal Hygiene
For the elderly, daily hygiene without help can be challenging. Nursing home neglect victims may not be getting help with basic hygiene needs, like fresh clothes or help with teeth brushing. If you noticed your loved one in a nursing home doesn’t seem to be up to his or her usual standards for cleanliness, it may signal that the staff isn’t helping them with bathing, grooming, or basic hygiene.
The signs of neglect are often the signs of aging (weight loss, confusion, or trouble with balance), so identifying neglect is difficult. Perhaps the most challenging of all neglects to spot, however, is emotional neglect. There are no physical signs that your loved one is being emotionally neglected, but to someone who is lonely, it can be as bad as any other form of abuse. When staff aren’t kind or friendly to those in the nursing home or they ignore their patients completely, it is a form of neglect.
Most people place their loved one in a nursing home in order for them to receive proper care – both daily care and medical care. Unfortunately, some nursing homes neglect the medical needs of the elderly. Some signs of medical neglect include bed sores. Bed sores are basically wounds from pressure – the pressure of sitting or lying in one position too long. Other signs of medical neglect include untreated cuts and failure to provide necessary medications.
Communicate to Prevent Nursing Home Neglect
The elderly are often unable to say outright that the nursing home is neglecting their basic needs. Perhaps already confused, explaining the neglect that they are suffering is impossible. Other times, patients may fear that the neglect may turn to abuse if they speak out – another common issue in nursing homes. Afraid and unable to clearly explain what is happening, the abused person may think that they have no options.
One way to protect your loved one from nursing home neglect is to have regular interactions. Though they may not be able to explain neglect, when a loved one communicates regularly, he or she may be abler to see irregularities that aren’t simply signs of age. Sadly, nursing home staff are less likely to abuse those whose loved ones visit regularly. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be diligent about the abuse or neglect that may be happening to those who only have staff members to rely on.
If a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect in the Pennsylvania area, hire an attorney to handle your claim. The lawyers at Anapol Weiss have the experience to negotiate with insurance and are not afraid to go to trial. Call us today for your free consultation.