Nursing Home Neglect Signs to Look For
A large percentage of people put their loved ones in a nursing home because they are too busy to take care of them. The last thing you would want to hear is that your loved one is being neglected by those you entrusted to take care of them. Neglect and abuse go hand in hand, says a Baltimore Nursing Home Neglect Attorney, and it is up to you to recognize signs of neglect and abuse when you visit the residents.
According to the Law Offices of Kim Parker, neglect and abuse are almost synonymous. The caregiver’s intentional denial of shelter, food, health care, and protection to vulnerable elderly residents is neglect. Deliberate infliction of emotional, sexual, physical, and financial harm is abuse. Abuse happens because the management of those facilities neglects their duties to oversee proper care provision for vulnerable residents.
Take immediate action if you observe the following:
General Signs of Neglect
Neglect is failure to accomplish any section of the nursing home contract obligation and legal duties they committed to fulfilling to residents. Here are a few signs of neglect:
Change in Behavior
It is very apparent that the residents will complain of abuse or neglect when you come visit. Don’t ignore this red flag. Ask your loved one for the specifics and collect enough evidence to help you make a judgment whether the complaint is valid or not.
Look out for signs of agitation around specific individual nursing staff members or fellow residents. Signs of terror, withdrawal from favorite activities, and sudden alertness around particular nursing home residents and staff are all signs of abuse. The resident may also be reluctant to be alone with a staff member or reluctant to let you speak with them. You will need the evidence when you visit a Baltimore Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer.
Malnutrition is mainly caused by a lack of food; that is, either the patient is not getting enough food or their bodies cannot absorb nutrients from food. Signs of malnutrition include physical weakness, loss of appetite, gradual loss of weight, irritability/depression, and low energy. The patient looks frail, tired, and struggles to move around. They may also develop other malnutrition-related medical problems, since their bodies lack enough energy to fend off infection.
A dehydrated resident lacks enough water in their bodies and may complain of thirst, have dry skin/mouth, cracked lips, overall fatigue, dizziness/disorientation, sunken eyes, and muscle cramps. While dehydration can be a side effect of medicines such as diuretics and other medical conditions such as fever, it may also be a case of neglect. The caregivers should have administered the resident enough fluid.
If not attended to, malnutrition and dehydration can result in balance and cognitive issues, strokes, organ failure, and premature death.
Bedsores are also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers. These are open wounds that arise from sitting or lying still in the same position on a bed or a wheelchair for long periods. If a patient enters a nursing home without them and now has bedsores, it means they are not receiving proper care.
Infections may occur in patients with open ulcers if they are not appropriately treated. Some residents in nursing homes contract open wounds infection due to poor cleanliness and hygiene standards, which is a sign of neglect. Ensure they get proper treatment because infections can cause other complications such as pulmonary arrest, shock, and death.
Errors in Medication Administration
The caregivers may be administering the wrong medication to the wrong patients or administering incorrect doses at incorrect intervals, resulting in a variety of serious medical complications.
Lack of Personal Hygiene
Observe the residents when you visit. Unkempt hair, soiled bedding, inadequate clothing, long and dirty nails, rashes, and hints of urine/fecal smell, are all signs of neglect. It means that the patient is not getting adequate care from the nursing staff.
Even before laying sight on the patients, the general living conditions should alert you about the dirty living conditions in the facility. Tell-tale signs include insufficient staff, unkempt common areas/rooms, lack of safety attire, bedbugs, odors in residents’rooms, leaving out food or trash, and not staff not washing hands when attending to patients.
All residents deserve safe, clean, and healthy environments, which nursing homes are obligated by the law to provide. If your loved one exhibits any of the above signs, consult an attorney such as Maryland Nursing Home Negligence & Abuse attorney, on how to go about initiating legal action.
Remember that abuse is also a sign of neglect. Below are signs to look out for:
Signs of Physical Abuse
“Physical abuse is the deliberate use of force to exploit the patient which causes impairment, bodily injury, and physical pain,” says a Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Attorney. Signs include:
-The presence of broken bones, internal injuries, black eyes, dislocations, bruises, welts, cuts, and burns that the patient or the staff cannot adequately explain.
-Signs of physical restraints such as rope marks, burns, and actual instruments used such as straps, belts, and ropes.
-Broken hearing aids, eyeglasses, frames, and contact lenses.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse involves sexual contact of any kind with someone without the patients’ consent and even nude photography. Signs include;
-Changes in the appearance of the genitalia such as bleeding in the anal or vaginal areas, torn bedclothes or underwear with bloodstains, bruises in the genital area, breasts, and genital infections or venereal disease.
Signs of Psychological Abuse
According to a Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer, psychological abuse is the intentional infliction of pain, anguish, or distress through words or non-verbal acts. Signs of psychological abuse include reports of threats, intimidation, assaults, silent treatment, forced social isolation, and humiliation.
The patient may be nonresponsive or unusually silent, agitated/upset, withdrawn from everyday activities, and show sudden changes in alertness. The patient may rock, suck or bite and exhibit other dementia-related behavior.
If, after observing the above signs of abuse and neglect, you believe that a resident or patient in a nursing home is facing any neglect or abuse, don’t stay silent. Call 911 if the patient is facing immediate danger. Call an attorney to initiate legal proceedings against the perpetrator because nursing home abuse lawyers stand for the rights of those in nursing and long-term health care facilities and their families.
Contact Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Baltimore City to alert authorities and help you investigate the negligence of a loved one today!