Ways to Spot Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Placing an elderly loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult decision. After all, it involves trusting other people with the care of important family members. It can be made even more difficult given the prevalence of nursing home abuse. In fact, over 40 percent of elders in nursing homes have experienced abuse or neglect according to statistics reported by the National Center on Elder Abuse, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With numbers that high, it is important for people to be able to protect their vulnerable family members by learning to spot common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. These signs include residents suffering unexplained injuries, dangerous conditions in nursing homes, and nursing homes following improper procedures.
Some of the most direct signs of nursing home abuse or neglect are unexplained injuries. Some of the most common of these injuries are bed sores and unexplained or repeated falls. Bed sores are injuries that develop when a person’s skin is kept under pressure for extended periods. They frequently develop when nursing home staff does not provide enough individual attention to residents, instead leaving them in their beds for prolonged stretches.
Repeated or unexplained falls can also be a sign of nursing home neglect. Often, falls can occur when residents who have limited mobility attempt to move on their own because they cannot get any assistance from nursing home staff. These sorts of injuries may be a sign that the nursing home is not employing enough workers to properly care for all of their residents.
Another nursing home issue that can lead to serious injuries are dangerous or poorly-maintained premises. These latent dangerous conditions can make it more likely for residents to hurt themselves when moving on their own. Fortunately, people visiting their family members in the nursing home can keep their eyes open for these sorts of hazards, which may help prevent an injury before it happens. Common dangers on premises are often tripping hazards such as uneven floors, puddles that nursing home staff are not cleaning up, or extension cords running across open spaces. Even inadequate lighting can pose a hazard since residents with poor eyesight may be unable to see obstacles in their way.
People with family in nursing homes should also make sure that the homes are following proper safety procedures with respect to the residents. For instance, federal regulations require nursing homes to perform fall risk assessments on residents as a preventative measure. Ensuring that these assessments are done thoroughly can help reduce the chances of a future fall. Similarly, there are strict guidelines in place with regard to how nursing homes can use physical or chemical restraints on residents who pose a danger to themselves or others. Failure to limit the use of restraints to instances of necessity can be a sign of serious issues at the home.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can cause serious injuries and impair your loved one’s quality of life. If you believe that one of your family members may be the victim of such poor treatment, contact a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer today. The professionals at Pike & Lustig, LLP are prepared to assist you immediately.