You entrust nursing homes with taking care of your loved ones. Chances are you spent many hours visiting, researching, and vetting nursing homes before settling on the best fit, but even the most careful planning can’t reveal every problem.
Though it seems like the stuff of nightmares, nursing home neglect and abuse can happen anywhere, even here in Evansville. If you suspect your loved one may be in danger or has already experienced neglect or abuse in their nursing home, take action right away by contacting a qualified, compassionate lawyer in the Evansville area.
In addition, check for these five warning signs that may indicate a dangerous situation.
1. Poor Hygiene
The older a person gets, the weaker their immune system becomes. This is why hygiene is especially important in nursing home facilities; it takes fewer germs to cause illness or infection among residents.
Staff members in nursing homes are expected to understand the importance of good hygiene and prioritize personal hygiene chores for those in their care. This means assisting patients to take regular baths or showers, clipping nails, washing clothes, and many other daily tasks some find difficult to do on their own. Your loved one’s basic needs must be met to keep them comfortable and healthy. If the nursing home fails to meet them, consider removing your loved one from their care.
Indiana and federal laws require long-term residential facilities like nursing homes to implement infection control programs and maintain sanitation standards in their buildings. If you notice unsanitary conditions in the nursing home you chose and decide to find a new residence for your loved one, consider reporting the facility as well to protect others.
2. Decreased Mobility
Professional care providers know how important regular exercise can be to encourage long-term residents and keep them strong. Every person has a different level of mobility, but nursing home staff members should know and respond to each person’s activity level and encourage them to move according to their ability.
If you suspect your loved one rarely gets exercise, or if he or she experiences a sudden drop in range of motion, this could be a sign of neglect. In addition, report any bedsores or infections, as these can indicate huge problems with the care they’re receiving.
3. Unexplained Injuries
Accidents happen even in places designed to be safe, accessible, and secure. However, injuries are serious health concerns for those living in nursing homes, and you should always gather a full explanation of any injuries your loved one may receive while in long-term care.
Repeated injuries are especially worrisome, as they may indicate your loved one is doing things on their own, rather than receiving help on a regular basis.
4. Inadequate Nutrition
Nursing homes are not only required to feed their residents but to ensure each one is given appropriately balanced meals according to their health and diet restrictions. Malnutrition is common in nursing home neglect cases, but you can prevent it from causing too much harm by keeping a watchful eye. Visit your loved one over a meal to check how much they eat and what kind of food they receive; ensure their diet is varied, healthy, and accessible.
5. Drastic Emotional Changes
Moving into a nursing home or other long-term care facility is understandably difficult for your loved one. It’s normal for them to respond to this change with a wide variety of emotions, especially at the beginning of their stay. However, sustained apprehension, fear, or depression should be taken seriously. Watch how your loved one responds to caregivers in the facility after they have settled in; if they seem afraid or nervous around them, this could indicate some form of abuse and you should consider removing them from their care.
Help from an Evansville Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Our hope at Hensley Legal Group is that this information helps you identify and avoid dangerous situations involving nursing home neglect and abuse before they cause real damage to your loved ones.
But if your loved one has been mistreated at a long-term care facility, our nursing home abuse lawyers are ready to help you today. Give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation.