It is important to discuss some of the things that you can do when you see that your loved one in a nursing home is clearly in pain.
The first thing you can do is keep your eyes open. A lot of times nursing home residents aren’t able to communicate very much about the pain that they are experiencing, so you need to be watching closely and be extra vigilant. Watch their facial expressions, and listen carefully to the sounds that they are making. Be aware that they may not want to complain about pain and/or mistreatment or abuse for fear of retaliation by the nursing home.
Certainly, any complaints that the nursing home resident is able to verbalize must be taken very seriously. The best thing that you can do immediately is go and tell someone. The nurses may seem like they are busy, and they are running around, but you need to be persistent. Stop them if you can. You should be courteous of course but you need to be persistent to make sure that your loved one gets the attention they need for the pain they’re experiencing. You can try to locate the nursing supervisor that you can find on the unit about what your loved one is going through at that time.
Another important thing to realize is that far too often when there’s a lot of pain a nursing home resident is experiencing, they will simply end up being given pain medication. This may treat the symptoms but not the cause of the pain condition. The cause may be a serious underlying disease or medical condition. If you notice that time and time again, when you visit your loved one they are in pain, it is imperative to pay close attention.
If they are getting pain medication and the medication is getting stronger and they are turning to narcotics, it is important to realize that pain management and pain medication is not the only answer. You need to actually explore what the source of the pain is. So if you notice that a nursing home is giving your loved one pain medication day after day, it is important to ask the nurses and especially the doctors, what is causing all this pain? Let’s get to the root of this problem. Very often that will help to discover some things that may not have been so obvious about what’s causing the pain that your loved one might be experiencing.
Leitner Varughese is a New York law firm currently investigation neglect, abuse and negligence issues at various nursing homes and long term care facilities throughout New York City, Long Island and New York State.
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