As we get older, there may come a time when our loved ones may need more care than we can give and they may need to go into a nursing home facility for long-term care. We put our loved one there trusting that the facility’s staff is competent, accountable, and caring. However, elder abuse and nursing home neglect can occur.
At McMahon, Kublick & Smith, we would like to take a moment to help you understand what to look for and how to identify nursing home negligence and what steps you can take if is should happen.
What is Nursing Home Negligence?
Firstly, it is important to realize that Elder neglect and abuse can happen in several forms. It is also important to remember that each of the following forms can vary from one case to another. The are four main areas of neglect that can lead to detrimental consequences to the individual being cared for.
When medical negligence occurs, it can happen as a result of nursing home staff not taking the proper steps to prevent or treat common medical needs such as mobility limitations, infections, bed sores and cognitive diseases.
For personal hygiene negligence to occur, the nursing home would have to no give assistance in basic grooming and hygiene needs. This may include daily bathing, cleaning, grooming and laundry needs.
Emotional negligence is when our loved one is repeatedly left alone, snapped at, or simply ignored by the nursing staff. This sort of thing usually happens when a facility is understaffed.
Basic need negligence happens when proper necessities of life are not provided for, such as adequate food and beverage, shelter, and environmental necessities.
What Are the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Negligence?
When a loved one is transitioning into a long-term care facility it can be a stressful time on both the patient and the family members. This upheaval can obscure many of the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Behavior patterns and health conditions can change which also makes identifying neglect more difficult. Some warning signs that you can watch for would typically include, but are not limited to:
- Unexpected changes in emotional well-being
- Unexplained bruises
- Silence around caretakers
- Behavioral irregularities
- Bleeding or other signs of injury
Steps to Take If Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Occurs
If you suspect a patient is a victim of nursing home abuse and/or neglect, consider taking these actions:
Keep a record of the abusive or negligent warning signs and symptoms, including photographs. Often, nursing home negligence is hard to prove, so having a well documented history of any warning signs, injuries and recorded details is advantageous when making a case.
- Report the negligent behavior to one of these resources:
a. National Center on Elder Abuse
b. Your loved one’s primary doctor, social worker, or patient advocate as long as they were not involved in the case
2. If it is a severe nursing home negligence case and needs immediate attention or medical treatment, call 911.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help with the legal process of filing a case against the nursing home facility at fault.