Nursing homes are often an important resource and immense help for adult children with one or both parents who need specialized medical care and attention. However, sometimes nursing homes commit abuses such as neglect, and in those cases, legal intervention is necessary.
Many people do not understand what constitutes nursing home abuse and neglect. It is important to understand the definition of nursing home neglect, especially if your elderly parent or loved one is living in a nursing home. Here are three signs of possible nursing home abuse and neglect. If you encounter these signs, you should investigate further to understand whether your elderly parent is a victim.
1. Frequent untreated infections
One sign of potential neglect by nursing home staff is if the patient has frequent untreated infections. A common type of infection of this nature is a urinary tract infection, which can result from neglecting the patient's hygiene or insufficient assistance in terms of their bathroom needs. If you see that your parent or loved one has a particular type of infection that tends to recur, you should find out more about the reason behind it.
2. Inappropriate medication or tranquilizers
Sometimes, elderly patients in a nursing home whom the staff sees as demanding are overmedicated or given tranquilizers. Human Rights Watch found that nursing homes in the United States overmedicate people with dementia. If you suspect that nursing home doctors are administering drugs to your elderly parent that he or she does not need, or if you believe your parent is overmedicated, you should investigate further.
Bedsores are also known as pressure ulcers and are injuries to the skin's tissue as a result of excessive pressure on a particular point. Nursing home patients with reduced mobility who spend their time in bed can develop bedsores when nursing home staff neglect to adjust the patient's position frequently enough. Bedsores often develop on bony areas of the body, such as the tailbone, shoulder blades and spine. Patients in a nursing home who are receiving adequate care and attention should not suffer from bedsores.
If you see these or other signs of possible nursing home negligence or abuse, you should contact an attorney with experience working with these cases. A consultation can help you begin the process of investigating the situation and asserting your legal rights to protect your elderly parent or loved one.