While it is hard to know the exact number of seniors abused in nursing homes, it is estimated that abuse takes place to approximately 4% to 10% of them. This type of abuse is considered elder abuse, and it falls into the category of personal injury law. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, there might be things you can do to prevent abuse from happening, and here are two tips you may want to consider.
Know the Signs
The first step of nursing home abuse prevention involves learning the signs. By learning the signs, you will know what to look for, and this may help your loved one prevent being abused. There are numerous types of nursing home abuse, and here are some of the signs to look for:
- Injuries – When your loved one is injured, the nursing home may be required to call you to let you know about it. They may be required to tell you when it happened and how it happened. If they do not let you know and you see injuries or wounds, the nursing home may be neglecting your loved one.
- Weight loss – It can be common for seniors to lose weight, but any type of sudden weight loss can be a red flag to nursing home neglect. It may indicate that your loved one is not being fed properly, or that the nursing home is not monitoring his or her food intake enough.
- Behavioral changes – If you suddenly see a huge change in your loved one's behavior, this too could indicate trouble. While behavioral changes can happen on their own, a person is more apt to change quickly if neglect is present. This could be emotional neglect, physical neglect, or neglect of basic needs.
When you know the signs, you will have a better chance of detecting abuse early on.
Another way to prevent abuse is to stay involved. Staying involved with a loved one means that you must visit them often. Show up to the nursing home unannounced frequently and at different times of the day. By doing this, you will get to see what is going on during various hours of the day, and the staff will never know when to expect you. What they will know is that you visit often, and the nursing home staff will probably take extra steps to make sure your loved one is being properly cared for.
When you are there, make sure you:
- Look at the condition of the building. This is a good way to determine if the building itself is maintained properly, which is important for safety reasons.
- Examine your loved one. Take note of how he or she acts, reasons, and looks.
- Ask questions. You are free to ask the nurses questions about your loved one, especially if you have concerns.
If you notice any signs of neglect or have concerns about the safety and well-being of your loved one, you should talk to the nurses about it. If you do not get the answers you need, or if you are unhappy with the answers you are given, it may be time to hire a personal injury attorney for help.
Nursing homes have the responsibility of caring for your loved one, and this involves providing him or her with physical and emotional care. If the nursing home is not doing its job, your loved one may not be getting the things he or she needs. Nursing home neglect is a big problem and a serious issue, but there are legal remedies for this problem, and this process begins by hiring personal injury lawyers.