If you are considering placing your loved one in a nursing home, you are probably concerned about his or her safety. There are currently 1.4 million people living in nursing homes in the United States. While many Alabama nursing homes provide excellent care for residents, some allow abusive practices to happen on a daily basis.
Nursing home abuse can result in serious injuries and even death. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or you are considering placing your loved one in a nursing home, be sure that you look out for the following signs of abuse.
Unexplained Bruising, Cuts, or Scrapes
Accidents do happen sometimes, and it is not uncommon for elderly people to bruise easily, even from everyday activities. Nonetheless, if you see unexplained injuries or bruising on your loved one, nursing home abuse could be happening. Keep a close lookout for bruises in the shape of a person’s hand around a patient’s wrist or arm.
Poor Sanitation or Hygiene
Every nursing home patient is entitled to clean and sanitary living conditions. If your loved one’s room smells like urine or feces or you notice unwashed hair, overgrown nails, or body odor due to not being washed enough, nursing home neglect is probably happening. When nursing home management does not create and enforce a proper schedule for hygiene and sanitation purposes, the patients’ health can be at risk.
Changes in Property or Finances
Sadly, financial exploitation can be one of the most common signs of elder abuse. Dangerous criminals often target elderly individuals who are more at risk of financial schemes. These financial scammers often target elderly individuals who are mentally or physically fragile. They befriend the elderly individual by providing them with attention and friendship. Once they gain the trust of the person in the nursing home, they begin to take their money or gain control over their finances. Signs of financial abuse include the following:
- Missing property
- Missing cash
- Unexplained withdrawals from the person’s bank account
- Unpaid expenses
- Unnecessary subscriptions or purchases
- Unusual changes in the individual’s will or power of attorney documents
Dehydration or Malnutrition
Ensuring that a patient has enough food and water is one of the most critical and foundational aspects of nursing home care. Many elderly individuals are not able to make sure they eat enough and drink enough water. When you visit with your loved one, make sure that you notice any changes in overall health or weight. Make sure that the nursing home is providing your loved one with health food choices as well as a variety of food choices.
If your loved one needs assistance eating or drinking, make sure that a staff member is supporting your loved one. Also, if your loved one has a medical condition, such as diabetes, you need to ensure that your loved one is getting meals that support their treatment plan and that they receive frequent blood sugar checks. Finally, nursing homes should check the weight of patients regularly. Some of the signs of dehydration and malnutrition include the following:
- Cracked, dry lips
- Swollen tongue
- Reduced urination
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss or weight gain
Sudden Changes in Behavior or Mood
Paying attention to your loved one’s behavior and the mood is also extremely important. One of the most telling signs of serious abuse or neglect, especially when nursing home residents are physically or mentally impaired. When something out of the ordinary happens, your loved one will often act out or become withdrawn as the result of the changes that have happened.
Whenever a sudden change happens, you should pay attention to what circumstances are going on regarding your loved one’s medical care. Some of the causes for a sudden behavioral change of a nursing home resident include the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Illegal restraint
- Health conditions, such as stroke, dementia, TIA, or pain
- Changes in roommates, or staffing that can cause conflicts between the staff and the nursing home residents
- Changes in medication, or food plans
Contact an Experienced Alabama Nursing Home Lawyer
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, we recommend speaking to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you hire an attorney, the better. At Heninger Garrison Davis, our lawyers can help you evaluate the situation. We will advise you as to your legal options when it comes to recovering compensation. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.