Whether it’s a parent, spouse, or close friend, moving your loved ones into a nursing home is an emotional process. An elder who requires extensive assistance is often in need of the expert knowledge of proper care that family members often cannot provide. Nursing homes can allow older family members to live a more comfortable life during their final years.
Although it is a necessary decision for your loved one’s comfort, giving up your role of responsibility in their daily lives can be very difficult. However, there are many things you can do to ensure that your loved one is safe and well cared for.
Just because your loved one is no longer under your daily supervision, you still play a significant role in their safety and health. It is important that you are diligent in looking for signs of neglect in the nursing home. There are various types of neglect that can occur. We will walk you through how to spot them and the best legal action to take when these events do occur.
Types of NeglectNeglect of Basic Needs and Hygiene
This type of neglect is when nursing home staff fails to provide basic health care and needs to your loved one. This includes not providing elders with safe food and water which can result in malnutrition and dehydration. Victims of this type of neglect could also experience lack of clean bedding, minimal bathing, and a clean environmentMedical Neglect
One of the most common reasons that families make the decision to place their loved ones in a nursing home is to make sure they are receiving adequate medical attention. Failing to provide any necessary medical attention is considered medical neglect. Examples can include bed sores due to lack of movement, untreated infections and injuries, or failing to administer necessary medications.Emotional Neglect
Emotional neglect can be the most difficult to identify. Seniors in nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to depression, so their interactions with staff are vital in maintaining their mental health. Lack of emotional support and human connection for residents can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. This type of neglect can also occur when staff members fail to provide assistance or wheelchairs and walkers so that residents can communicate with each other.
Signs of Neglect
Cases of neglect among nursing home residents often go unnoticed. It is important to be aware of the warning signs you need to look out for to ensure the safety of your loved one. Nursing Home Abuse Justice listed the following as signs of neglect in nursing home residents:
- Bedsores (pressure sores from lack of movement)
- Bruises, broken bones, and other unexplained injuries
- Burns, often accidentally self-inflicted
- Loss of Sleep
- New or untreated medical conditions
- Personal hygiene issues
- Significant personality changes
It is crucial that friends and family are adamant in regularly checking in on their loved ones in nursing homes. Even in knowing the signs of neglect, it can still be difficult to detect among elders as many of them may experience serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia which may leave them unable to defend their story.Pursuing Legal Action
Elders are a vital part of any community and have the right to appropriate care. When cases of abuse or neglect in nursing homes occur, it is important to quickly take action, seek justice, and prevent them from occurring any further.
Because the residents often spend a significant portion of their time alone with staff members, it can be difficult to prove neglect. Proving your claim will require a great deal of evidence and inspection. After reporting the neglect to facility authorities, legal advice is the best next step. Working with a qualified personal injury attorney will not only ensure that you understand your case, but ensure that you have gathered the appropriate evidence and are working within an ideal time span.
Medical records are a good place to begin gathering information. These should include detailed descriptions of any injuries, illnesses, or infections. However, a lack of these records can also be used as proof of neglect on its own. Another place to look is through the facility’s surveillance footage. If you start to suspect any neglect, begin taking photos of your loved one and the environment around them to use as proof for your claim.
Nursing homes are a place of comfort and care for loved ones and should be trusted facilities. When this trust is broken, it is imperative to take legal action to protect your family members. At Barfoot and Schoettker, our professionals are prepared to evaluate your case and determine the best steps for you. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you!