Nursing home abuse can be an emotionally loaded subject. Having to relinquish some control of the care and treatment of our elderly loved ones to a facility can make people feel guilty, anxious and upset. But few spouses, adult children or even extended family households are equipped to handle the activities of daily living support, much less any medical needs, that someone who is elderly and/or medical frail may require. That is why nursing home and other senior care facilities are so prevalent in the U.S. – we need them.
Unfortunately, not all facilities are able to provide the care that patients require, either due to staffing issues, budget cuts, poor management, or a host of other issues. Nursing home abuse can be as overt as a patient who is physically or emotionally assaulted, or as subtle as when someone is neglected enough that they develop bedsores or dehydration.
Some red flags which may indicate further investigation is warranted:
- Has the patient developed bedsores?
- Does the patient have unexplained bruises?
- Has the patient fallen in the facility one or more times?
- Has the patient's behavior changed? Has he or she suddenly become socially withdrawn, fearful or uncommunicative?
- Does the patient show signs of poor hygiene?
- Does the patient seem uncomfortable around or fearful of a staff member?
- Are you able to visit alone with the patient?
- Does the patient have any personal items missing?
Many clients are concerned about reporting suspected abuse; they want to believe it does not happen, or that they are overreacting. But the general rule is that if you suspect something, say something. Let the authorities decide if your concerns have merit. It is not your job to know for certain. It is your job to speak up as an attentive advocate for your loved one.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, Gilfix & La Poll can help.