After making the difficult choice to place your loved one into a nursing home, your very worst fear may be that they will not receive the quality care that you hope. It would be a nightmare to realize that your loved one is being mistreated, neglected, or abused. While most nursing homes are geared towards taking care of seniors, situations where misconduct occurs does happen more often than people realize. It is important for family members to know how to spot signs of neglect and abuse, reducing the chances that their cherished relative is being mistreated. Then, they can take action to be sure that the misconduct stops immediately.
In many cases, it takes assistance from a legal professional for family members to get the results they are looking for in trying to stop nursing home abuse. Sadly, many facilities may attempt to cover up the mistreatment out of fear of paying out in a big lawsuit. If you have seen signs that your loved one isn’t being treated with respect, it’s time to consult with an attorney right away.
Figuring Out the Cause of the Problem
Most nursing home facilities do provide quality care to their residents, and most staff are very hardworking people who have a strong moral character. It is reasonable to assume that most of these workers have gotten into the field because they care and want to help others. However, where the problem may lay is when the facility has more residents than staff available to help, causing staff to be spread thin and becoming fatigued. Over time, this can turn into resentment, hostility, anger, and misdirected frustration at the residents. While it isn’t an excuse, it is often the source of the problem.
Signs That Mistreatment May Be Happening
As a caring family member, it is important that you visit your senior relative often and at different times of the day. In this way, you can become familiar with the staff who are tending to your loved one. During your visits, it is crucial that you are paying attention to any signs that something just isn’t quite right, changes in your loved one’s behavior, or visible signs of injuries that cannot be explained. Here are some signs that mistreatment may be happening, and that it’s time to speak with an attorney:
- Bed injuries
- Appearing emotionally upset
- Withdraw, non-communicative
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Reluctance to be helped by certain staff
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, wounds, or welts
- Unsanitary or dirty living conditions
- Dirty bed sheets or clothing
- Isolating from loved ones
- Heavy medications or sedation
- Behavior outbursts or mood swings
As someone who cares very much for their senior relative, it can be gut-wrenching to imagine that they are being abused, neglected, or mistreated. It is in your loved one’s best interest to speak with a lawyer, like a nursing home lawyer from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, who is familiar with nursing home law so you can find out how to take action based on the things you are seeing.