Red flags that your loved one is being abused/neglected in their nursing home
Although you have placed trust in a nursing home to care for your loved one, you may be worried that your elderly family member is receiving inadequate care. Unfortunately, nursing home mistreatment is all too common. When you visit your loved one, you must look for common warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If you suspect abuse, reach out to our team at Westmoreland Law. We’re trained in fighting legal battles against nursing homes and other senior care facilities to get your loved one the care and compensation they deserve.
Poor personal hygiene
As we age, we may find it more difficult to care for our personal hygiene. This is especially true when a health condition limits mobility. The nursing home is responsible for helping residents manage chores such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair, bathing, dressing, trimming their nails and shaving.
When a nursing home resident is neglected, they may attempt to take care of themselves, but struggle to do so. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents do not receive adequate dental care and this can lead to more expensive dentist visits in the future.
Lack of nutrition and dehydration
Talk to your loved one about what they have been eating. The elderly need a healthy and well-rounded diet to keep their strength up. Your loved one might say that they don’t feel like eating or have difficulty swallowing. However, the nursing home facility should take steps to remedy this problem.
When asking about their experience, they may complain that there aren’t enough meals and that they are not arriving in a timely manner. They might ask for a drink and wait hours to receive it.
If your loved one is suffering from poor nutrition, they may experience malaise and rapid weight loss. They may even suffer from a condition known as “cachexia,” which is when the body begins to eat itself. Your loved one might experience hair loss, paper-thin skin and might be constantly tired and irritated.
Lack of sanitation and cleanliness
Look at your senior’s living conditions to see if everything is clean, tidy and sanitary. If you smell feces or urine, your loved one may struggle to control their bladder and bowel movements. The nursing home may not clean up afterward often enough.
You may also notice pests or mold in the room. There might be flies buzzing around or you may even see ants crawling around. Not only are pests disease carriers, but they’re indicative of poor sanitation.
Look for potential hazards, such as cords your loved one might trip over. Also, check for potential fire or electrical hazards.
Failure to attend to the resident’s needs (negligence)
Nursing home patients almost always have several medications they must take and doctor’s appointments to go to. A neglectful nursing home may forget to administer these medications, administer them at the wrong time, administer them more than once or administer medications that react badly to the patient’s prescribed medication. They may also give a medication that the patient reacted poorly to previously.
If your loved one has diabetes, for example, they might not have their blood sugar levels tested regularly. They may even suffer from bedsores or have an infection.
Signs of physical abuse
Signs of elder abuse can manifest as broken bones, bruises, cuts and scrapes without a plausible explanation. If they have broken glasses and bruises on the face, this is a strong sign of physical abuse. There may also be rope marks on the senior’s wrists, which are a sign of restraint.
You may wonder why the nursing home staff refuse to allow you to be alone with your family member. This is to prevent your family member from telling you about any abuse they are experiencing.
Social isolation and loneliness
A nursing home should offer opportunities for your loved one to socialize. This can include socializing with other residents, receiving guests and going on trips. However, if your loved one is not receiving enough emotional support and socialization, they might talk about being lonely.
Lack of mobility and exercise
To stay healthy, your loved one will need to move around. Remaining in one place can lead to a loss of muscle tone and strength. Nursing homes are responsible for making sure that patients move around enough to have proper blood circulation, improve balance and reduce spasms.
You may have a sense that your loved one is not the same. They might be suffering from depression and may not show energy or enthusiasm when you visit. Your elder may also seem angry or resentful. All emotional concerns should be addressed as soon as possible.
A caregiver should never threaten, belittle or manipulate your family member. Some residents are afraid of retaliation if they bring up the abuse. However, you may notice your loved one engaging in uncharacteristic behaviors that could be indicative of a high degree of stress.
Fight nursing home abuse
Georgia law requires that elder abuse, neglect or exploitation be reported to law enforcement and adult protective services. If you suspect elder abuse or neglect, contact law enforcement and schedule an appointment to meet with a Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer.