No one ever said that growing old would be easy. Between declining health and diminishing independence, many seniors find themselves needing assistance with the activities of daily living.
For most people, this assistance comes in the form of family members or friends who generously provide their time to help with things like cooking, cleaning, and transportation. However, there are some seniors who don’t have this support system and must rely on professional caretakers to meet their needs.
Nursing homes are one option for older adults who require constant care, and most of these facilities do an excellent job of providing their residents with the attention and assistance they need to maintain their quality of life. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide this level of care, and some engage in neglectful or even abusive practices.
In this article, we’ll discover what nursing home neglect is and how to report it if you suspect that a loved one is being mistreated. So, without further ado, let’s begin!
What is a Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is one type of elder abuse that occurs when caretakers don’t provide residents with the most essential needs in life, like food, water, shelter, and medical care. This neglect can be intentional or the result of negligence.
Intentional neglect occurs when a caretaker makes a conscious decision to withhold necessary care from a resident. For example, a nurse may choose not to give a resident their medication because they are too busy or think that the resident doesn’t need it.
Negligent neglect, on the other hand, occurs when a caretaker fails to provide necessary care due to carelessness or inattention. This type of neglect is often the result of understaffing or inadequate training. For example, a nurse may forget to give a resident their medication because they are caring for too many residents at one time.
Both types of neglect can have serious repercussions for nursing home residents. When basic needs are not met, seniors can experience a decline in their physical and mental health. In some cases, this neglect can even lead to death!
Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Neglect
In case you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of neglect. Unfortunately, many seniors are reluctant to speak up about the mistreatment they’re experiencing for fear of retaliation from their caretakers.
That’s why it’s important to know what to look for. Some common signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect include:
- Unusual weight loss or gain
If a resident is not getting enough to eat or drink, they may lose weight. On the other hand, if they are being overfed or given medication that causes them to retain water, they may gain weight.
Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, sunken eyes, and little or no urine output.
- Soiled clothing or bedding
If a resident is not being given proper hygiene care, their clothing and bedding may become soiled.
- Bed sores
Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, are a common sign of neglect. These sores develop when a person is confined to a bed or wheelchair for too long and are not properly turned or positioned.
- Unsanitary living conditions
Nursing home residents should be living in clean, well-maintained rooms. If you notice that your loved one’s room is dirty or in disrepair, it may be a sign of neglect.
- Social withdrawal
If a resident is being neglected, they may become withdrawn and stop participating in activities that they used to enjoy.
- Changes in mood or behavior
Neglect can cause a nursing home resident to become agitated, anxious, or depressed.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in your loved one, it’s important to take action. The sooner you report the neglect, the sooner your loved one can get the help they need.
How to Report a Nursing Home Neglect?
If you think that your loved one is being neglected in their nursing home, it’s important to take action. Here are some steps you may take to report the abuse and get help for your loved one:
- Speak with a staff member
If you’ve concerns about the care your loved one is receiving, try to speak with a staff member at the nursing home. It’s possible that the neglect is due to an isolated incident or misunderstanding that can be resolved quickly.
- Contact the management
If speaking with a staff member does not resolve your concerns, contact the nursing home’s management. Explain your concerns and ask what they’re doing to address the issue.
- File a complaint
If you’re unhappy and dissatisfied with the response from the nursing home’s management, you can file a complaint with your state’s long-term care ombudsman or the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Speak with an attorney
In case you think that your loved one has been seriously harmed due to nursing home abuse, you might want to speak with an attorney. An attorney can help you understand your legal options and take action to protect your loved one’s rights.
Keep Yourself and Your Loved Ones Safe
Taking action if you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse can be difficult, but it’s crucial to do what you may to protect your loved one.
By speaking up, you can help ensure that your loved one gets the care and treatment they deserve.