12 Signs Your Relative Is Suffering from Nursing Home Neglect
Knowing the signs of nursing home neglect is important. Whether you’ve recently made the difficult decision to put your loved one in a nursing home, or if they’ve been in a long-term care facility for some time, monitor their care.
We want our aging loved ones to be well cared for during the late life stage. But it is difficult to know the level of care they receive when we can’t be with them every day.
In a recent study, 44 percent of residents indicated abuse, and 95 percent indicated neglect.
What is nursing home neglect? Read these 12 signs your relative might be suffering from nursing home neglect.
1. Frequent Physical Injuries
One of the most common signs of neglect in nursing homes is physical abuse. These are a few key issues indicating resident abuse in a long-term care facility.
- Frequent falls result from poor handling of your loved one. We depend on staff to transfer residents from the bed to a wheelchair, in and out of the shower, and throughout the facility. Frequent falls indicate the staff’s lack of skill or neglect.
- Bumps and bruises happen when people are unsteady on their feet or rely on staff to assist with mobility. Bruises and cuts should be rare. Frequent bruising indicates a problem.
- Broken bones are an extreme indicator that residents are not monitored well enough to keep them safe.
- Bed sores are one of the most serious signs of neglect. These occur when your loved one is left in one position in a bed or chair for extended periods of time. Bed sores also occur if your loved one isn’t regularly bathed and provided with clean clothing.
If you see any of these issues occur with your loved one, report these injuries to administrative staff immediately. Monitor care to make sure these abuses do not continue.
2. Being Left Alone
When you visit, is your loved one alone in a common room? Are they left alone in their room for much of the day?
If residents need assistance to move freely about the nursing home, they depend on staff or volunteers to take them to classes, dinner, or group activities for social interaction.
When left alone, your loved one might become depressed or lonely. Worse, an injury could occur and go unnoticed for long periods of time.
Nursing homes are responsible for the healthy well-being of residents. When hours pass in the day without checking on a resident, this is a sign of nursing home negligence.
Keep an updated inventory list of your loved one’s property. Take notice if anything goes missing.
Whether by staff or other residents, stealing items from residents is never okay. It can be small things, like a favorite picture or flowers you brought this week.
Or it can be more important items, like wedding rings or other jewelry the staff reported as lost or missing.
On a larger scale, if your loved one has an account with the nursing home to purchase items from a commissary or store, keep an eye on the balance. If funds disappear or seem inaccurate, report it to the administrators.
4. Deteriorating Health
Placing your loved one in a nursing home for long-term care means he or she is no longer able to care for themselves on their own.
However, if you notice a deterioration in health, pay close attention. Symptoms include new illnesses, loss of mobility, infections, and dental issues.
Natural aging brings additional health issues over time. But a rapid decline or frequency of new health issues is cause for concern as a sign of neglect.
5. Declining Mental Status
Physical signs of abuse are more noticeable than emotional or mental changes. But the emotional well-being of your loved one needs careful attention.
Watch for these signs of abuse:
- Increased depression or sadness
- Refusing help from specific staff members
- Refusing to talk
- Clinging to you as you leave after a visit
- Speaking without making sense
Expect your loved one to experience some sadness when she transitions to a new nursing home environment. But if any of these symptoms persist, take action.
6. Lack of Sanitary Conditions
Lack of cleanliness in a nursing home is a sign of resident neglect and an unfit facility. These issues range from dirty floors, bathrooms, and common areas to the hygiene of residents.
Unkempt staff sets the tone for how well the nursing home is kept clean. Look for dirty uniforms or poor personal hygiene from personnel.
Take note of smells. Point out spills and messes on floors or tables. Report insects right away.
Watch your loved one’s hygiene. If he or she is unable to do these things on their own, they deserve careful assistance for regular bathing, clean clothes, and routine dental care.
7. Over-medication and Restraints
Abusive nursing home staff uses medication or restraints to control residents without legitimate medical cause.
If your loved one shows signs of lethargy, inability to focus, or sleeps most of the day, check their medication. Heavy sedatives or other forms of subduing a resident through medicine is abuse.
Restraints are an extreme safety precaution if residents are in danger of hurting themselves or others. However, without justification, restraining a resident is abuse.
Forms of restraints include arm or leg restraints, hand mitts, or anything that keeps your loved one from moving freely.
8. Troubling Statements or Behavior
Watch and listen to your loved one and other residents in the nursing home.
The best nursing homes create a positive environment for residents and staff. Residents should enjoy the company of staff and interact with each other in friendly ways.
However, if you hear comments or statements from residents about the staff that raise concern, look into the issue.
Be sure to notice if residents argue or physically fight with each other or with staff. These are signs that residents need better care to feel safe and loved in the nursing home.
9. Inattentive Staff
Is the staff watching TV in the office? Are spills piling up in the dining area? Is a resident sitting in a wheelchair asking for help?
Have you left messages with the administrative staff without getting a response?
Nursing home staff must be responsive to resident needs to prevent injuries or poor living conditions.
Ignoring you or failing to help residents in need is a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect.
10. Rapid Weight Loss
Sudden weight loss is immediate cause for concern.
If your loved one needs help to eat, weight loss indicates they are not receiving help with meals.
However, if your loved one is able to eat on their own but begins losing weight, he or she could be refusing to eat.
Check the quality of the food in the facility. Also, check the emotional state of your loved one. If they are refusing good food, they are trying to tell you something about life in the nursing home.
11. Unsafe or Broken Equipment
Notice the state of the equipment throughout the facility
These issues include broken wheelchairs, inoperable overhead lights, broken furniture, and slippery or unsafe floor surfaces.
The state of the equipment and the facility tells you a lot about your loved one’s quality of care.
12. Your Instincts
How you feel about a facility is the best indicator of proper care for your loved one.
Address feelings of uncertainty or fear as you consider nursing home options. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Visit often to keep up with patterns in behavior or care.
Talk it over with family or friends. Look for the positives, but share your concerns and trust your gut on anything that raises a red flag.
Watch for Nursing Home Neglect
Elderly loved ones in nursing homes need your help to watch for nursing home neglect and to advocate on their behalf and.
If you determine your loved one is being abused, you have options.
Know how to report a nursing home for neglect.
Contact your loved one’s personal care physician and anyone on their care team. Let them know you suspect abuse and get them involved.
If your efforts to work with the nursing home fail, contact local state authorities to report the abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) website includes a state resources page to find the correct contact for your state.
If abuse is severe and unresolved, take legal action.
We Are Here to Help
Of course, we hope your loved one’s care never progresses to a wrongful death situation. Wrongful death occurs in situations of negligence.
But should the unthinkable happen, our law firm will help you and your family in the event of a wrongful death.
Your loved ones deserve the best advocates on their behalf. We are passionate about each case and we will not rest until the rights of your loved one are resolved.
If youve been injured, Stephen Babcock is standing by to help you. Your case and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephens 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee. If you have any questions about this article or want to visit with a lawyer for free, call Stephen at (225) 500-5000 or contact us here. Or if you prefer, feel free to take advantage of our live chat system. Get Even! Call Stephen! Stephen Babcock