If you are watching for signs of abuse or neglect in an elder who lives in a nursing home, you’re not necessarily looking for a black eye or a broken wrist. While some of the signs include unexplained bruises or broken bones there are other, more subtle signs that you should also be keeping an eye out for.
In case you might be thinking that nursing home abuse or neglect is rare, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that about 1 in 10 Americans over age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, however because elder abuse is chronically under-reported, only about 1 in 14 incidents of abuse are reported to authorities.
The NCOA cites the following as warning signs of abuse of elders in general as bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, burns and abrasions, and signs of neglect can include bedsores, poor hygiene and unusual weight loss, but there are also other signs that you can look for in your relative or in the facility environment.
Because they receive federal funding from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), law mandates nursing homes must meet certain health, safety and staffing level regulations. When a nursing home is found to be in violation of these regulations, CMS can penalize them with fines and withholding a percentage of reimbursements until the deficiencies have been resolved.
Examples of warning signs of nursing home abuse or negligence
The following are some additional warning signs that your loved one might be in a situation where their care is being neglected, or they are being abused:
- Noticeable physical changes, changes in mood and temperament. Have you seen significant weight loss, poor grooming and hygiene, dehydration and malnourishment, or other physical signa like bedsores, that your loved one is not being cared for properly?
- Heavily medicated or sedated. When you come to visit does your loved one always seem to be heavily sedated and unresponsive? Do not be shy about asking why they are so heavily medicated and what other options might be available.
- Inadequate staffing levels and high staff turnover. Adequate staffing levels are vital to maintaining a healthy, safe environment for residents. If it seems like staffing levels have dropped or if they seem inadequate, raise your concerns with the administrators.
- Unsanitary conditions. There is never an excuse for a nursing facility to be unclean and unsanitary because this can lead to the spread of infections and disease.
- Refusing care from specific staff members. If your loved one says that they do not want a specific staff member to attend to them, you should find out what happened if you can, report it to the administrators immediately, and then follow-up to find out what has been done to address your concerns.
- Residents injuring other residents. When residents are not adequately supervised, some residents can injure other residents
- Unsatisfactory response from staff. If you have been noticing some of the troubling signs listed above, and you have mentioned them to nursing home staff yet you have seen no evidence that the issues have been addressed, it might be time to report the facility to the state authorities.
- Uneasy feeling about the facility. Trust your gut. If you get a bad feeling that something is not right, do not hesitate to ask questions and follow-up. Nursing homes operate in apart from public view, so much of what goes on there is never known until an outside visitor who sees something is willing to say something.
What are the benefits of working with a Kentucky nursing home negligence and abuse attorney?
Sure, you can file a complaint about the alleged incidents of neglect or abuse you saw regarding your loved one in a nursing home, but if you are looking to make sure that something like this does not happen to another resident, and it you want to recover the additional medical expenses and compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering and mental anguish, then you will want to work with a skilled attorney. Building a nursing home negligence case takes the skill and experience that our legal team possesses. We fight for your loved one’s right to be cared for properly and to live in a safe, nurturing environment. We make sure that those responsible for your relative’s injuries are held accountable through the civil justice system.
At Crandall & Pera Law, our compassionate Kentucky nursing home negligence attorneys stand up for the rights of our clients who have suffered injury and trauma at the hands of nursing home staff, and we aggressively pursue those responsible holding them accountable. You may contact us to learn more about our services, or to schedule a complimentary consultation by calling 877-686-8879 or filling out our contact form now.