It is essential that family members of loved ones residing in nursing homes pay careful attention to the following signs and symptoms, which may be evidence that your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home. In order to obtain the best care possible, family members should be vigilant and act as advocates for their loved ones. Paying careful attention to potential signs of nursing home neglect is extraordinarily important in maintaining a safe environment for your loved one in a nursing home.
From our perspective based on handling hundreds of nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits, in the vast majority of cases, a nursing home resident who is adequately cared for should not develop bedsores. Also known as "decubitus ulcers" or "pressure sores, this skin breakdown results from unrelieved pressure, friction, humidity, and poor nutrition, and most often occurs in residents left unattended for extended periods of time without repositioning and relieving pressure. Bedsores can start small and develop into cavernous holes in the body, with muscles, tendons, and bones being exposed. These gaping sores can result in unbearable pain and shock to the body, and can lead to deadly infections.
INJURIES OF "UNKNOWN ORIGIN"
When a nursing home resident is allegedly "found" with an injury and the nursing home has no excuse or explanation for the cause, this is a sign of possibly abuse or neglect. The nursing home is required by law to report any such injuries of unknown origin to the Department of Health as soon as possible. The nursing home also should investigate the cause of these unexplained injuries.
Lack of adequate nutrition and hydration is a sign that a nursing home resident is possibly being neglected or abused. Weight loss can be a direct result of dehydration, serious illness, poor food taste and quality, or a lack of ability to feed one's self.
Nursing homes must develop a written plan of care to lessen the risk of those residents who are at risk for falling. Falls are one of the leading causes of death in the elderly. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to have sufficient staff, and in fact have inadequate staff, leading to a lack of supervision and resident falling.
Remember, by law, nursing homes must ensure that residents' rights are protected under state and federal law. If you believe that your loved ones' rights in a nursing home have been violated, it is essential that you contact a skilled nursing home attorney today.