In 2015 alone, more than 1.3 million people lived in nursing homes, but as more Americans age, it’s expected that the number will continue to increase. Nursing homes give families a way to ensure that their loved one receives the care and attention they deserve.
And while most nursing homes are safe, welcoming, and nurturing environments, others fall short of the mark. Residents in these facilities often experience nursing home abuse and, since they’re unable to care for themselves, can’t speak up appropriately.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s up to you to look out for their well-being. Watch for these tell-tale signs of nursing home abuse so you can take action fast.
Unexplained Injuries or Bruising
When you move your loved one into an assisted living facility, you expect the staff to take care of them and keep them safe from harm. Unfortunately, some facilities fail in this regard.
If you notice unexplained injuries or frequent bruising and the staff didn’t tell you what happened immediately after the injury occurred, pay attention. It’s likely because the facility is not doing what it can to keep your loved one safe from injuries.
Pay attention to the way your loved one looks when you visit and listen to their complaints. If they mention a new injury or source of pain, investigate further. Talk to the staff and find out what happened.
If it’s a one-off, the staff should be able to explain the injury and take the appropriate steps to keep your loved one safe. If you notice repeat injuries, cuts, bruises, or other injuries your loved one couldn’t cause on their own, it may be worth speaking with a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Sudden Changes in Weight
Malnutrition is one of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. But it can manifest in different ways.
If you notice your loved one experiencing sudden changes in weight, investigate. Talk to the staff and find out what types of meals they’re serving and discuss whether your loved one is eating them.
Make sure the staff is doing their best to encourage your loved one to eat. And if your loved one can’t feed themselves, make sure the staff is taking on the task.
It’s possible that your loved one simply doesn’t want the food they’re serving. But it’s also likely that they’re not getting the nutrition or calories they need. This can cause your loved one to either drop weight quickly or put on weight fast depending on the situation.
Changes in Mood and Disposition
You know your loved one best and while some changes in mood and personality can be expected, they shouldn’t be extreme. If your loved one is consistently anxious or fearful around staff when you visit, there’s a reason for it.
The staff at the assisted living facility have dozens of residents to oversee each day. This can lead them to feel impatient and annoyed. Unfortunately, some staff members may take that annoyance out on your loved one in the form of verbal or physical abuse.
This is something no one should have to tolerate. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of physical or emotional abuse, get help. Learn more from Soffer Firm to help you report the incident and find ways to protect your loved one.
General Lack of Hygiene
In most nursing homes, residents can’t take care of their own personal hygiene. Bathing, hair brushing, brushing teeth, and even getting dressed are all tasks left to the staff.
Pay attention to the way your loved one looks when you visit. If they appear dirty or disheveled, it could be because they’re not receiving the necessary care.
Even if it happens occasionally, it’s important to get help and protect your loved one from this type of abuse. No senior should have to deal with poor hygiene just because they can’t take care of things on their own.
Lack of Cleanliness in Common Areas
Nursing home neglect doesn’t always lead to physical changes in your loved one’s health and appearance. It can be far more subtle and the easiest way to tell if your loved one isn’t receiving the care they deserve is to inspect the common areas.
Staff members that care about the residents and take pride in helping them live comfortably take care to clean common areas often. This ensures that residents and their visitors can better enjoy their time together.
If the common areas are dirty, it’s likely that your loved one’s room is dirty, too. And if the staff isn’t willing to put effort into cleaning, what else are they neglecting?
Bring up the concerns you have with the director and monitor the changes. If you see no improvement, contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Great nursing homes understand that you’re trusting them with your loved one’s care and well-being. Their staff is responsive and will do what they can to address your concerns and answer your questions.
However, if you’re having trouble getting answers from the staff at your loved one’s facility, it could be a sign of elder abuse.
Think about the other types of abuse your loved one may be experiencing. If you’ve noticed changes in their appearance or demeanor, contact a nursing home abuse attorney immediately.
Watch for These Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
If you notice even one of these signs of nursing home abuse at your loved one’s nursing home, don’t wait. Find an experienced nursing home abuse attorney and schedule a consultation.
They’ll be able to review your case and your concerns quickly. If they think the staff is abusing your loved one, they’ll help you figure out the next steps to best protect your loved one.
Not sure how to find an experienced lawyer to help you combat abuse at nursing homes? Check out our latest posts to learn what to look for and how to choose a great legal professional.