Neglectful care is one of the most serious issues faced by nursing home residents across the country. The level of neglect involved can vary on a case-by-case basis. Issues involving assistance with eating, basic hygiene, and mobility can all be affected by the negligence of nursing home care takers.
Recognizing the signs of neglect can help prevent further harm to your loved one and others. Although a single indicator of potential neglect does not necessarily point to a pattern of neglect, multiple indicators can certainly reveal an underlying problem at the facility.
Some of the signs that may indicate nursing home neglect include:
1. Unsanitary living conditions
Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide their residents with clean and safe living conditions. Any failure to do so may constitute neglect. Federal law protects nursing home residents, by requiring facilities to “establish and maintain an infection control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment in which residents reside…” Nursing homes must also conform to the State of Maryland’s requirements for security and safety.
It is important to ensure that your loved one is provided clean bedding and clothing, sanitary kitchen areas, and clean bathroom areas. Neglecting to maintain these areas in a clean and sanitary condition can precipitate serious health-related issues for residents.
2. Poor personal hygiene
Part of a resident care program carried out by nurses and other staff in a nursing home involves helping residents with their basic personal hygiene needs. Many residents need help with basic hygiene, including brushing their teeth, getting dressed, bathing, clipping nails, and combing hair. When the resident is left to take care of these hygiene issues alone, they are often unable to do so.
A nursing home without sufficient staff members is not fair to residents and their need to have consistent hygiene routines in place on a day-to-day and weekly basis.
3. Loss or lack of mobility
A nursing home that takes care of the mobility needs of its patients will have walking and other exercise programs in place to help residents maintain and build muscle tone and strength, increase balance, enhance circulation, and minimize contractures and spasms.
If a nursing home resident suffers neglect, he or she may be confined to bed for long periods of time (even days on end). This can lead to the significant loss of mobility and other health issues such as bedsores and infections.
4. Physical issues from inadequate nutrition and dehydration
Another sign of neglect involves evidence of dehydration and malnutrition. Regardless of whether the cause is due to a lack of oversight or something more deliberate, millions of nursing home residents suffer from poor nutrition across the nation. According to recent research, about 1 in 5 international nursing home residents suffer some form of malnutrition.
5. Unexplained injuries
Physical injuries such as bruises, broken bones, and head injuries can signal serious signs of neglect. Residents who fail to receive the protection and treatment they need may attempt to help themselves which can precipitate further injury – for instance, attempting to walk somewhere without assistance, leading to a fall.
Nursing home negligence is a tragic and all too pervasive problem in nursing homes across the U.S. Our seniors deserve far better. Understanding the warning signs mentioned above can help you protect your loved one.
At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., we have many years of experience advocating on behalf of injured nursing home residents. If your loved one has suffered serious injury in a nursing home due to the negligence of the facility or its caretakers, we can help. We will investigate the conditions surrounding your loved one’s injury and fight for any compensation you and your loved one deserve for your losses. To explore your options with a free consultation, call us today at 410.988.4449 or complete our contact form.