Senior Citizens Day: Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
August 21 is National Senior Citizens Day, a time for celebrating the important seniors in your life. While the elderly should always be treated with respect and dignity, sadly they are sometimes neglected or abused in nursing homes.
Seniors are more vulnerable to neglect and abuse compared to younger, healthy adults. They may have trouble communicating, or be too afraid to tell family members if they are being mistreated in a nursing home.
Our Birmingham nursing home neglect lawyers are sharing how families can protect loved ones and what to do if your family member is a victim.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse can take four forms: physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
Acts of physical abuse include, but are not limited to, hitting, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, or pinching. Unlawful, excessive, or unnecessary use of physical or chemical means to restrain a patient is also abuse.
Psychological or Emotional Abuse
Inflicting distress through insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, isolation, and harassment is considered emotional abuse.
This could be direct abuse at the hands of the staff or other residents. But it can also involve being forced to witness or listen to sexual activity or language by third parties.
Staff and other residents may steal your loved one’s money and belongings. There have also been cases where employees somehow convince a resident to change their will to include them.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
One of the most common types of mistreatment is nursing home neglect. When you move your mom or dad into a nursing home, the whole point is that they’ll be taken care of. But some nursing home staff do not pay attention to the needs of their patients the way they should.
Some examples of nursing home neglect include:
Nursing homes have a duty to make sure patients are provided with medical treatment if they’re sick or get hurt. They also need to check their vitals on schedule to make sure they’re okay. Staff must ensure patients receive the right medications in the right dosage and on schedule.
When this doesn’t happen, you need to call a law firm to intervene.
Neglect Of Basic Needs
Your loved one has a right to be fed, clothed, and cared for. If they’re not turned properly, they could get bedsores. If they’re not eating properly, they could lose weight or have nutritional issues. Patients in long-term care need a lot more attention paid to them than you may think. There is a reason they’re in the nursing home and not living with their family.
This is the most basic form of neglect and the easiest to prevent. Patients need to be bathed and dressed every day. They have to be well-groomed and kept clean and fresh. When this doesn’t happen, you need to call a lawyer who specializes in injury law.
How To Prevent Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
Family members can help protect their loved ones by following these tips:
Do Research Before Choosing A Nursing Home
When it comes time to look for somewhere to place your elderly loved one, you want to do a few things:
- Visit the facility and make sure it’s clean and cheerful looking
- Ask what the staff-to-resident ratio is
- Ask to taste the food and sample some of the social activities
- Ask a few residents how they like living there
- Ask your attorney to review their litigation history and see if they’ve been sued for nursing home abuse or neglect.
Know The Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
- Confusion or sleeping all the time (overmedication)
- Becoming incontinent (not enough help using the bathroom)
- Skin breakdown in diaper area from sitting in urine and feces
- Difficulty getting around (lack of help with daily walking/exercise)
- Poor personal hygiene
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Emotional distress or withdrawal
- Unexplained injuries
What To Do If Your Loved One Is A Victim
If you suspect your family member is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, move him or her to a different facility immediately.
Document your loved one’s injuries. Make sure you take pictures of any bruises, bedsores, or obvious injuries. Get documentation from the emergency room physicians of any injuries or illnesses.