If you have had to move a friend or a family member into a nursing home, you may be unsure whether the nursing home staff is treating your loved one well, especially if he or she has a problem communicating. If you suspect there may be a problem, you should be on the alert for these common problems, which may indicate an issue with the quality of care.
Your loved one has fallen repeatedly. As people age, it’s common for them to fall more often. Nursing home staff should be on the lookout for residents who need assistance getting around. If a nursing home resident falls more than once, staff members should take action to prevent additional falls from occurring.
Your loved one was allowed to wander from the facility. Many people who live in nursing homes are cognitively impaired. They may attempt to leave their nursing home, often in an attempt to go home. Nursing homes must identify those patients, and take steps to prevent them from leaving.
The nursing home has been cited with a number of violations. It’s likely that any nursing home that is in business for any amount of time may have a few minor violations. However, if the nursing home has been cited for abuse to residents or neglect of residents, those violations should be taken seriously.
Your loved one has bed sores. Bed sores can be a sign of systematic poor care at nursing homes. Bed sores (also called pressure sores) can occur when there is unrelieved pressure on bony parts of the body over a period of time. Bed sores can occur because of a lack of movement, poor nutrition, and poor hydration. Patients who are allowed to sit in wet clothing or bedding are also more likely to have skin deterioration and pressure sores.
Your loved one becomes dehydrated or malnourished. Sadly, dehydration and malnutrition are a form of abuse that can occur in nursing homes. In poorly staffed nursing homes, residents may not receive all the food or fluids they need to remain healthy. In some cases, meals and snacks may be completely skipped.
Your loved one has noticeable physical or emotional changes. Naturally, as people age, there are going to be physical and emotional changes. They may take a variety of forms – becoming withdrawn, sadness, depression, anger, and crying. Physical signs may include bruising, scrapes, and other signs of injury.
Just because an elderly person has physical and emotional changes while they are in a nursing home does not mean that they are receiving bad care. Instead, changes should be considered clues that something is going on. Your loved one could be depressed at being moved from his or her home. The bruising could be a result of becoming more careless as time goes on, or could be the result of a blood thinner which can cause bruising very easily. Do not dismiss these changes, but do not assume that the nursing home is responsible. Look further to determine whether these issues are a warning sign of poor care.
Your loved one feels uncomfortable or distressed around certain staff members. If your loved one has cognitive problems, it may be difficult to find out if he or she is being treated well by certain staff members. If your loved one feels uncomfortable around any staff members, that should be taken seriously and investigated.
Your phone calls go unanswered or your family member’s call light goes unanswered. The nursing home industry typically has a chronic problem with understaffing. It can be tough to find enough reliable staff members at the relatively low pay that most nursing homes offer. However, if your calls repeatedly go unanswered, that can be a sign that there is a problem. If your elderly family member needs assistance, and it does not come after pushing the call light, it’s likely there are not enough staff members to properly care for the residents.
If your loved one has been the victim of poor care in a nursing home, you should speak with an attorney. Your family member or friend is entitled to compensation for any abuse or negligent treatment. Call Oakland-San Francisco elder abuse attorney Micha Star Liberty at 510-645-1000to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.