When you visit your loved one, you might notice that your loved one appears unkempt or has other signs of poor hygiene. Unfortunately, poor hygiene can indicate that the nursing home and its staff have neglected your loved one’s needs.
Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect because they depend on others for their needs. Therefore, if you see your loved one exhibiting signs of poor hygiene, that could indicate other forms of abuse also occurring. That’s why consulting with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can be helpful in your situation.
Indicators of Poor Hygiene
All nursing home residents should maintain proper hygiene with assistance from nursing home staff. However, numerous factors can indicate poor hygiene. So, you’ll want to watch for the following:
- Increased body odor
- Soiled clothes or your loved one wearing the same clothes for several days
- Bedsores (also called pressure ulcers)
- Unkempt or extremely greasy hair
- Unbrushed dentures or teeth and bad breath
- Fecal matter or urine on the body or clothing
You can compare your loved one’s usual appearance and note any abnormalities or changes. Then, based on the signs you observe, you should address your loved one’s safety.
You may need to report suspected abuse to the police, another law enforcement agency, or Adult Protective Services. You could also file an official complaint with nursing home management and ask them to act against an abusive staff member.
Poor Hygiene as a Sign of Abuse
If nothing else, poor hygiene can indicate neglect of a nursing home resident’s needs. For example, it can mean that the staff has not taken the time to care for a resident’s hygiene needs properly. As a result, they may not be helping a resident bathe, change sheets and pillowcases, take off soiled clothing, or perform other personal grooming tasks.
Poor hygiene alone does not prove that your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect. However, you might notice other signs of abuse that indicate poor hygiene. For example, you may observe your loved one’s hair is disheveled and unwashed, or you may also see signs of physical abuse like bruises or scrapes. Finally, you may notice dirty clothing, but your loved one may also report sexual or psychological abuse.
Other times, poor hygiene can happen because of fear following another abusive incident. For example, suppose a staff member physically abused a nursing home resident. In this case, the resident may fear asking for help with bathing or getting dressed. This fear causes their overall hygiene to suffer because they cannot care for themselves independently, but they are also afraid of the abuse happening again.
Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents rely on others to help them in many activities of daily living. Unfortunately, their dependence and health issues could place them at a higher risk of experiencing abuse or neglect.
A nursing home resident can suffer abuse in many forms:
The National Center on Elder Abuse defines neglect as “the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder.” One of those duties involves providing clean and sanitary living conditions. Thus, failing to provide a resident with appropriate clothing or nutrition would qualify as neglect.
Sometimes, neglect occurs independently of any other form of abuse, but other times, a resident suffers from several types of abuse at once. Therefore, you should seek help if you observe any neglect or abuse.
Help From an Attorney in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases
Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious matters. However, contacting a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can benefit your case.
Sometimes, abuse cases warrant a criminal investigation. Still, you also have the right to pursue compensation through the civil courts for the damages your loved one suffered. A nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can help you fill out the related paperwork in your case so that you don’t miss any deadlines for filing your claim.
We aim to get you the compensation you need to cover expenses. In addition, we’ll make the legal process go as smoothly as possible so you can focus on your loved one’s recovery.
Get Help With Your Nursing Home Abuse Case Today
You could recover compensation if you or your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse. Our legal team at Brown & Barron can help you with your case. We will investigate the signs of poor hygiene you observed to determine what happened to your loved one, who’s responsible for their neglect, and your legal options.
You can contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.