More elderly adults than ever are living in Alabama nursing homes. Family members expect that when they place their elderly loved ones in a nursing home, the nursing home staff will take care of them. Unfortunately, the standard of care is much too low in some Alabama nursing homes. Four Alabama nursing homes have received a “persistent record of poor care.” These nursing homes put residents in immediate jeopardy of serious injury, harm or death. How can you be sure that your loved ones are not subject to nursing home abuse and neglect? These tips will help you protect your loved one and make sure he or she is safe.
Common Signs of Physical and Emotional Nursing Home Neglect
One of the best ways to ensure your loved one does not suffer abuse in a nursing home is to check for signs of abuse. Some of the common signs of physical abuse or neglect include the following:
- Fractures, fall, or head injuries
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Unexplained welts, bruises, or other wounds
- Unclean conditions and unsanitary conditions
- Your elderly loved one is frequently ill
- Frequent infections
Signs of abuse are not only physical but they can also be emotional. The following warning signs might indicate that an elderly person is suffering from abuse in a nursing home:
- A loved one is showing agitation or becomes extremely withdrawn
- A loved one stops communicating with family members and friends
- A loved one begins wandering around inexplicably
- A desire to become isolated from other people
- Fear of being touched
- Biting or rocking
- Reluctance to speak in front of certain nursing home employees
Watch for Signs of Abuse on Every Visit
Thinking about abuse can be difficult for anyone. However, it is important to keep the possibility of elder abuse and nursing home abuse on your mind whenever you visit your loved one. By paying attention to your loved one’s behavior and attitude closely, you will be more likely to notice more subtle changes that can indicate physical or emotional abuse. More subtle signs of emotional and physical nursing home abuse include the following:
- Strange behaviors such as a resident acting in an infantile way
- Becoming physically or emotionally withdrawn
- Strange and unusual financial transactions
- Unresponsiveness or listlessness
When speaking to your loved one, practice active listening. Try to lead between the lines to discover any changes in your loved one’s behavior. Many people who suffer abuse cannot bring themselves to discuss the abuse outright. Suffering from physical abuse can be traumatic. Additionally, many elderly individuals may struggle with some level of developmental disabilities as well.
Pay Attention to Staff at the Nursing Home
Keep your eye on how the staff treats your loved one. If you see staff members loved one starts acting nervous or anxious when one particular staff member comes in, it could be a sign of abuse. Further, if nobody checks in on your loved one during your visit, or you notice a foul stench or unsanitary conditions, this could be a sign of neglect. Finally, if a staff member stays in your loved one’s room and refuses to leave, this could also be a sign of abuse by a controlling nursing home staff member.
Keeping records and notes can also be helpful in proving nursing home abuse. When you speak to the staff at your loved one’s nursing home, make a note of when you called and what you discussed. When you see any warning signs, write them down and keep the notes for your records.
What to do if You Suspect Your Loved One is Suffering From Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse in Alabama, what steps should you take? If you are afraid for your loved one’s life or safety, call 911 or local law enforcement. You can also call Alabama adult protective services. Additionally, you may wish to contact a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer. At Heninger Garrison Davis, our lawyers have extensive experience in representing nursing home abuse victims. Elderly nursing home residents and their families spend an enormous amount of money on nursing homes.
When nursing home abuse causes injury to elderly residents, those residents may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment. If you suspect or you know that your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, contact Heninger Garrison Davis today to schedule your free initial consultation.