The elderly need to be cared for by qualified individuals. Sometimes, their family cannot take care of them, as there may be medical problems and other things that make it necessary for the elder to be under proper care. In these situations, many turn to nursing homes.
Although a nursing home can be a great place for the elderly, not everyone has a good experience there. Some nursing homes abuse their residents, which can make the elders’ life horrible. There are about 5 million cases of elder abuse every year according to some data from the Nursing Home Abuse Justice.
How can you tell that people are experiencing nursing home abuse, though? Here are some signs you should look out for.
Complaints from Patients
Every nursing home can receive complaints. After all, every patient will have different needs, and it’s hard to do everything right for everyone. Not to mention that there are elders who are not that easy to please.
But if there are more and more complaints from your loved one or other patients about the food, hygiene, or the staff, then this raises a red flag. Chances are that the nursing home is not doing its job properly, and the elderly are the ones who suffer as a result.
When something like this happens, you should always consider hiring an elder abuse lawyer. Directly confronting the staff member/s responsible for this may result in them taking revenge on your loved one, and you don’t want that.
High Staff Turnover
On top of looking at the patients and how their condition is overall, you should also pay close attention to the staff. Do you notice employees suddenly disappearing with new ones popping up frequently? It could be a sign that the nursing home is not great at what it does.
What’s worse about this is that the risk of the employees not taking care of the elderly properly or making huge mistakes increases. And if the institution is understaffed, this may end up with the patients being neglected.
A nursing home shouldn’t feel like a prison, that’s for sure. It should allow residents to interact with each other and engage in different activities. Usually, nursing homes will have various activities hosted every week or month so the residents can have some fun. These activities would include church services, games, arts and many others.
But if the facility has no activities and the residents have no opportunity to socialize, it’s not a good sign.
One of the most common signs of nursing home abuse is represented by bed sores. These are pressure sores that appear when a patient is confined to their bed for extended periods and in the same position. Blood circulation can decrease, which leads to bed sores and may even be fatal.
If you notice any bed sore on your loved one’s body, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney or an elder abuse attorney to help you out. This page has helpful information on attorneys you can ask for help.
Not only that, but you should also move your loved one to a different nursing home.
A Lot of Noise
A nursing home should be a place of relaxation. The elderly need to live in a peaceful environment, therefore chaos and noise should not be part of the package. Noise can only make them stressed, particularly if they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
When you visit the facility, take a look at the way they manage noise. Is the nursing home noisy all the time? What are the employees doing to reduce the noise? If the facility is loud and nothing is done to cut down the sound, then this is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
There Isn’t Any Policy for Abuse Prevention
Any nursing home should have an abuse prevention policy to make sure all patients are well-taken care of and that the families have a way to file complaints if anything bad happens.
With so many seniors facing abuse in nursing homes, having such policies in place is critical. There should be an abuse prevention program, as well as a complaint policy. If your loved one was neglected, you should always let the staff know what could be improved.
Unanswered Call Lights
The doors of each resident will have call lights either outside or above. If you know this, you can always take this into account when you try to figure out how this facility takes care of its residents.
Call lights go off a lot of times, especially in long-term care nursing homes. What you can do is watch how long it takes before someone takes notice of the lights going off and goes to help the individual who lives there. It will tell you if the facility and employees are responsive and care about their patients.
Poor Food Quality
All patients in a nursing home have certain diet requirements, and the staff at the nursing home is responsible for whether these requirements are met or not. So, if you notice a decreased food quality, chances are that your loved one is not eating what they should, which could put their health in danger.
Some nursing homes end up cutting back on food quality, and this is very concerning. They have to make all the dietary considerations for all residents, so don’t hesitate to take action if you notice the food is bad and the staff doesn’t do anything about it.
Cleanliness is important in all nursing homes. If this is not a priority in the nursing home where your loved one lives, consider it a red flag.
Everything, including the bedrooms, restrooms, and common areas should be clean and smell nice. In case you notice dirt and bad odors, it shows that the facility is either understaffed or that they do not care about the well-being of the residents.
Nobody should suffer from abuse in the nursing home. Look for these signs and see whether you should relocate your loved one to a new nursing home and take action against the old one.