At some point, many of us will have to make the decision to choose a nursing home for our elderly loved ones, especially if they have medical needs that require the care of a professional. In fact, over 3.2 million adults are living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and, while many of them are well-cared for, others experience abuse and neglect. It is estimated that up to 1 in 6 nursing home residents will be the victim of abuse or neglect every year. How would you know if your loved one is receiving the proper care he or she deserves?
Below is a list of some red flags you should be aware of that could indicate poor treatment:
- Noticeable emotional or physical changes: It is crucial to regularly visit your loved one since being able to observe any physical or emotional changes will be the most noticeable indicators of neglect. If your loved one is less functional than usual, no longer partakes in activities, or appears to be withdrawn and uncommunicative, this is cause for concern. Emotional abuse, such as being ignored or talked down to, can cause one to feel agitated, fearful, or experience a loss of appetite and changes in sleeping patterns or mood. You should also be aware of physical changes. Your loved one might be experiencing physical abuse if you notice unexplained bruises, pressure ulcers, or skin tears. That said, these red flags are not always proof. Some of these changes can also represent an underlying disease or illness rather than poor care. Observe the staff with your loved one and ask them to explain anything you perceive as troubling. If you believe your loved one is in imminent danger, call 9 1 1.
- Unanswered and deflected questions: There is nothing wrong with occasionally not having an answer, especially if they are willing to get back to you with one, but is not acceptable to never have the answers to your questions. If the staff at your loved one’s nursing home facility is unable to answer your questions, evades them, or straight-up refuses to discuss their care with you, consider this a major red flag for neglect and subpar care.
- Frantic or inadequate staff: It is not abnormal for staff at a nursing home to sometimes appear busy or thin-stretched, but if it always feels chaotic when you visit, this is a problem. When you observe the staff, do they appear to work well together, or do they have bad attitudes? Do they only talk amongst themselves or do they also mingle with residents and appear very friendly? These might seem like minor details, but if the nursing home facility is inadequately staffed, residents end up paying the price for it with the care they receive. Remember that leadership is also important, so if the director is nowhere to be found, chances are that the services are far from top-notch.
- High staff turnover: Consistency is important in a nursing home facility, so if you notice that the staff at your loved one’s nursing home is constantly training and no one ever seems to know your loved one well, you might want to consider finding a new nursing home. When residents are consistently paired with the same staff members, this helps residents receive the quality of care they need.
- Your loved one refuses care from certain staff members: If you notice that your loved one is feeling particularly distressed or uncomfortable around certain staff members, it could be a sign of mistreatment. Even if he or she suffers from cognitive issues you should always take these red flags seriously.
- The phones are always ringing: If it appears that the nursing staff never has the time to pick up a phone, this should raise a red flag for you. If your loved one waits for a long time after pushing a call button, speak to a staff member about it. You should also note the specific time of day you notice these delays, such as mealtime or shift changes. This could ultimately be a result of an understaffed facility.
- Dehydration and malnourishment: These are among the most common signs of neglect. When nursing homes are inadequately staffed, residents might not always receive the fluids they need to stay hydrated or enough food to remain nutritionally sound. In fact, meals might be completely missed, leaving your loved one to suffer. If you suspect this is occurring, take action immediately.
- Status quo: Nothing is perfect, ask the staff what improvements have been made in the nursing home, particularly since your loved one moved in. If you were told something would change and has yet to be updated in the timeframe you were told, this might be the type of facility where status quo reigns. If a facility has no interest in improving their practices, you should look into finding a new place for your loved one.
- A bad feeling: There are tons of red flags out there, but ultimately, you should trust your gut. Do you feel uneasy about your family member’s well-being and question whether or not the nursing home facility is adequately caring for them? If you notice these red flags and have a bad feeling about the place, trust yourself and do what is best for your loved one.
Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse in Lynchburg
Knowing that your loved one is being mistreated by the people you entrusted their health and safety to is the ultimate betrayal. At Randall J. Trost, P.C., we will ensure all responsible parties are held accountable for their actions. Our Lynchburg personal injury attorneys understand the emotional pain you are enduring and are here to provide compassionate service you deserve.
For fierce legal representation, contact us today at (434) 738-2300 to schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable member of our firm.