Placing a loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult decision. You want to make sure they are safe and they are receiving the best possible care when you are not there to watch over them. If you discover that your loved one is reluctant or unable to discuss any problems, below are some ways you can be on the lookout for signs of abuse.
Visible Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
You can usually detect visible injuries like broken bones, abrasions, scratches, bruises and sores. When you see any sign of this type of abuse, it is important that you immediately get all of the necessary information to help handle the situation. Ask them how the injury occurred and if there were any other residents or staff present that may have witnessed the incident. If they are reluctant to discuss the true nature of the problem, you may need to speak with the supervisor on duty. Your loved one may be scared or embarrassed to tell you the details of the injury because they feel intimidated. Do not stop investigating until you get some answers.
Checking for Signs and Symptoms of Neglect
Checking for signs of neglect can be more difficult than recognizing visible forms of abuse. Some signs of neglect include not receiving proper nutritional food or water, not being allowed to use the bathroom in a timely manner, improper changing of the residents' undergarments, not supplying a resident with adequate hygienic supplies, failing to assist a resident with help bathing, walking and eating, verbal abuse and inappropriate fondling.
If your loved one is unusually quiet and reserved, he or she may be reluctant to address the issue. That is why it is important for you to keep your eyes open for any signs of neglect or abuse. When you come to visit, check for odors when you walk in. Look at their clothing and bedding to make sure they are being properly tended to and cleaned. Is the bathroom in good condition and sanitary? Does your family member show any signs of weight loss? Does he or she appear depressed, frightened or sad? Remember, these are not sure signs of neglect or abuse, but you should definitely investigate the concerns further to alleviate any fears.
What to Do if a Loved One is Being Abused
When you have evidence that your loved one is in fact being abused, you should speak to the manager of the facility and discuss the issues with him or her. If the administrator does not handle your case properly, and you do not see sufficient results or improvements, your next step is to contact the authorities immediately, and file an official complaint. An inspector should come out and make a surprise inspection of the facility and investigate the circumstances of the abuse or neglect.
If you feel that the claim is still not being handled properly, you should contact a lawyer to handle your case. The Perecman firm of NYC wants you to know that attorneys can help you protect your loved ones by holding nursing homes accountable for their unscrupulous, and possibly illegal actions. With an attorney's help, you may even be able to receive financial compensation to pay for any medical treatment that is needed as a result of the neglect or abuse.
You rely on a nursing home facility to provide your loved ones with the best care in a compassionate environment, and you are counting on them to provide these necessary services even when you are not there to check up on them. That is why it is so important to see that justice is served when your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home. Wouldn't you want your family members to do the same for you?
Karla M. Somers is a blogger who writes about legal issues and family concerns. She is a contributing writer for The Perecman firm of personal injury lawyers in New York City. This trusted and experienced legal team helps people with all types of personal injury cases including medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, construction accidents, workers' compensation and wrongful death.