Neglect of residents in nursing homes goes undetected and without repercussions all too often. Elderly residents may experience emotional or medical neglect, but more often, it is their basic needs or personal hygiene requirements go unmet in cases of neglect. If you are unable to visit your relative often, these conditions may go undetected. Below are some typical signs that may indicate negligence, as well as recommendations for addressing your concerns and protecting your loved ones.
Typical Types of Neglect
Four distinct types of neglect may occur in the nursing home or elder care setting. Emotional and social neglect happens when the resident is continually ignored and overlooked. This also is a time when the overworked and stressed staff may accidentally launch into verbal abuse at the patient without necessarily meaning to. Personal hygiene neglect happens when the resident does not receive adequate help with bathing or other personal care duties. Basic needs neglect happens when the nursing staff fails to provide adequate food and water and reasonable shelter. Sometimes this one can be the trickiest to detect, as you cannot determine if the resident is receiving adequate food or water without continuous visits. Lastly, medical neglect happens when the nursing home does not pay attention to patients’ medical problems, including illnesses, cuts and bruises, or psychological issues.
How to Recognize Neglect
Sometimes recognizing nursing home neglect can be difficult, especially if the patient is living far away from family. Nursing home residents may not want to admit to a problem for fear of worrying their loved ones. More often, they are embarrassed to talk about neglect or abuse because it signals to them a loss of control in their lives. Family members, if they know what to look for, can help detect signs negligence when they happen. These include keeping watch for any signs of sudden weight loss, bed sores or ulcers, injuries due to falls, dehydration, unexplained bruising, changes in behavior or a changed attitude toward the home’s staff. Additionally, a look around the living space of the home may reveal environmental hazards such as leaks and spills, or signs of mistreatment among other residents.
What to Do if You Suspect Neglect
If you suspect your loved ones are being mistreated in their home, don’t let it go without action. Talk to the elderly patients themselves and see if they are willing to corroborate your suspicions. Sometimes the patient has been too complacent or too scared to speak up. Assure them that you will protect them and ensure their safety. If they admit to having experienced neglect or abuse, the safest course is to take legal action.
If you’ve noticed signs that your loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, contact the legal team at Montgomery Dowdle Law for more information. Their experienced attorneys can help you build a case and explain the next steps to fight nursing home neglect.