How to Identify Nursing Home Neglect
Because we become more vulnerable to illness and injury as we age, it can often be hard to tell when your elderly loved one is experiencing neglect – and you may have a hard time admitting just how far the neglect and abuse has gone. In most cases, the nursing home will also deny any responsibility for new injuries, bruises, or emotional shifts you notice.
As Baltimore nursing home abuse & neglect lawyers, our team has years of experience sorting through the truth of nursing home cases. When we take on your case, we’ll perform a deep-dive investigation to determine exactly where liability falls for your loved one’s emotional, mental, and physical injuries.
In the meantime, however, here are a few of the strongest indicators that your loved one is being neglected in a nursing home.
Most Common Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, up to 2 million of all current nursing home residents may have experienced neglect and abuse. Although abuse has a more immediate impact on your loved one’s mental and physical health, the results of nursing home neglect can also be devastating for victims, precisely because the elderly need a high level of attention and medical care.
Usually caused by a lack of properly trained staff and limited one-on-one care for residents, nursing home neglect can lead to dehydration, starvation, and serious infections, all of which put your loved one’s very life at risk. From causing septic bed sores to systematically depriving residents of food, nursing homes can and should be held accountable for these oversights.
If you’re concerned about neglect, here are some things to look for during your next nursing home visit:
- Sudden changes in your loved one. Experts agree that you should start with your loved one first, and watch how they respond to nursing home care over time. If they suddenly become agitated, withdrawn, or fearful, they may be experiencing emotional abuse, or feel ignored by the staff. You should also check for any physical signs of neglect, such as pressure ulcers or unexplained bruises.
- Rapid rates of staff turnover. If the nursing home seems to have a “rotating door” policy, that could be a red flag for neglect. Nursing homes with high levels of staff turnover are often unable to keep good CNAs and nurses around – not to mention, it may become more difficult to track each resident’s daily care levels in the chaos.
- Delays in call light service. When your elderly mother complains that the staff takes a long time to answer her call button, take it seriously. It’s worth performing call light tests of your own to track how long it takes for service to arrive. If there are consistent delays, that could be a warning sign.
- Malnourishment and dehydration. Does your loved one seem thinner every time you visit? Is their skin unusually dry, clammy, or dull? Most of all, do they seem well-nourished? If not, they could be suffering from malnourishment and dehydration, which affect more than a third of all nursing home residents.
- Refusal to answer your questions. Finally, see how staff respond to your queries and complaints. If they become agitated about simple questions, it can point to a deeper culture of neglect. Additionally, if the staff members you encounter always seem frantic or easily frustrated, chances are good that they are not treating each resident with respect when you’re gone.
At Brown & Barron, LLC, our Baltimore nursing home neglect attorneys can help you pursue a claim when your loved one has been hurt by neglect. You’re not in this alone: As your dedicated legal team, we’ll provide the compassionate support and aggressive advocacy you need to get to the bottom of the issues – and stop them once and for all.
Contact us at (410) 698-1717 today for more information on pursuing a nursing home abuse and neglect claim.