How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse
There are approximately 1.4 million Americans currently living in nursing homes, where they can access a high level of care and support. While most of those in need of a high level of care receive it, not all of them do. If you’re a nurse or a family member who suspects nursing home abuse or neglect, these are some of the signs to look out for.
Injuries Requiring Emergency Treatment
Accidents happen, which means injuries inside nursing homes are not unexpected. However, some injuries may see the need for nursing home attorneys to step in, especially if you suspect that a nursing home worker was to blame for the injury. Some of these severe injuries that could signal nursing home abuse or neglect include broken bones and other unexplained injuries like welts, bruises, cuts, and wounds.
Sudden or Unusual Behavioral Changes
Many illnesses and conditions, like dementia, can be responsible for sudden or unusual behavioral changes. However, if your loved one or a patient at a facility you work at doesn’t have dementia, it can be worth getting to the bottom of what’s causing any behavior changes. You may have noticed that they don’t like to be touched, they are rocking in their bed or chair or may have even started sucking orbiting. These changes may signal that something is bothering them and requires further investigation.
Even though there are clearly defined laws determining the nurse-to-patient ratio, understaffing remains a prevalent problem. When nurses and support workers are made to take care of too many patients, some of their needs can fall through the cracks. Nursing home neglect can display as uncleanliness. If they are dirty or have unclean clothing or sleeping quarters, this can indicate a much more severe problem.
Changes in Mood
Many people moving from their own home into the unfamiliar surroundings of a nursing home can struggle with the adjustment. They may be upset, uncomfortable, or even angry. With a high-quality nursing plan and time, those feelings can dissipate, and they become more settled and even happy with their new environment. If you have noticed a significant change in their moods, such as agitation or sadness, or they want to be left alone or won’t communicate, it’s essential to get to the bottom of what these drastic changes could mean.
Family members who visit their ailing loved ones in nursing homes expect that illness is possible. After all, many people leave their homes and enter nursing home facilities because they are unwell and unable to care for themselves.
However, if you are visiting your family member, only to discover they continue to be sick, that can be a cause for concern. Nurses may also notice ongoing and wide-ranging illnesses if they look back through their patient records. Illness will not always be caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, but it can be. Being aware of this sign can put you on high alert.
Nursing home neglect can be caused by overworked nurses who have spread themselves too thin. However, nursing home abuse can be an entirely different story. If you have noticed any significant changes in a patient or family member, consider consulting experts like nursing home attorneys on the best next steps to take.