Recognizing the signs of nursing home neglect

Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you want to be sure he or she is getting good care. While there are different types of nursing homes, all of them must maintain a basic standard of care. When a home fails to uphold care and a resident suffers harm as a result, his or her family members have the option of pursuing a lawsuit.

Types of Neglect

Neglect can happen even if no one at the nursing home specifically intends to harm a resident. Most often, neglectful behavior consists of failing to perform necessary actions. While state and federal governments set forth rules and standards for nursing homes, such as minimum staffing requirements, you should be aware that a nursing home can be neglectful even if it technically complies with laws.

Medical neglect occurs when an elder does not receive proper attention for health issues. Nursing home personnel should be able to detect and address issues as they arise. Some examples of this type of neglect include failing to give medication on time, ignoring problems like bed sores or infections and failing to pay attention to issues with mobility or cognition.

Elders living in nursing homes often need help with basic living and hygiene functions. They also depend on the facility to provide necessities like food and drink. Nursing homes must have staff members whose duties include assisting with activities like bathing and laundry.

Emotional and social well-being are a key element of a nursing home resident’s life. You are entitled to expect that nursing home staff will be consistently friendly and polite to your loved one. A pattern of ignoring or being rude to residents can rise to the level of emotional neglect.

Signs that should concern you

Some types of neglect send up obvious red flags. For example, an untreated wound or an unexplained injury should immediately send you digging for what really happened. Other indications may not be so obvious. Look out for the following signs that something is not right:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Unusually withdrawn demeanor
  • Fear or anxiety around nursing home staff
  • Weight loss
  • Sudden worsening of hygiene

Also, check out the physical environment. The premises should be clean, well lit and in good repair. You should also see appropriate safety features like bed rails.

Nursing home neglect often happens because of problems like staff shortages or inadequate training. Even generally reputable nursing homes can get cited for violations that result in death or serious harm.

You can help by watching out for areas of concern and communicating with staff members. If you believe your loved one has suffered as a result of neglect, speak with an experienced attorney to find out how you can get compensation.