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Personal Injury Law Blog

5 signs of nursing home neglect

Quality care is a key factor in locating an assisted living facility that is right for your loved one. It would be nice to be able to say that every facility in South Carolina is a quality establishment. However, that’s just not true. Nursing home neglect is problematic in this state, as well as most others. You can’t be with your loved one 24/7, so it’s important to learn how to recognize signs of nursing home neglect in case a problem arises.

There’s no excuse for nursing home staff members to neglect a patient. It can be difficult to identify substandard care because certain issues masquerade as “typical” behavior for elders. Just remember that it’s always best to trust your instincts and to investigate matters of concern. There are five specific issues that suggest that your loved one is not receiving quality care.

Nursing home neglect often includes poor hygiene

One of the duties care providers carry out daily is to make sure patients are clean. Many have bladder or bowel accidents or are unable to wash themselves, comb their hair or conduct other basic hygiene habits on their own. If your loved one appears unkempt, has a stench or is telling you that no one is helping him or her with hygiene, you have just cause to request a meeting with administrators.

Chronic hunger and thirst point toward nursing home neglect

Malnutrition and dehydration are issues that are sometimes difficult to spot because they appear to be normal issues for an elderly person. Loved ones often mistake malnutrition for finicky tastebuds, meaning they believe that their family member is being picky about the menu and refusing to eat. A staff member who is neglecting or abusing a patient might use denial of food or water as coercion or a threat.

If your loved one is losing weight, or has dry skin or eyes that look sunken in, it could be a sign of malnutrition or dehydration. If he or she often complains about feeling hungry or thirsty, it’s an issue worth investigating.

Your loved one should not have unexplained injuries

Accidents happen, especially with older people who may be unstable on their feet or lacking coordination as they age. If your loved one resides in a South Carolina nursing home, he or she should not have an unexplained injury. If you ask administrators how a bruise on an arm occurred, for instance, they should be able to tell you.

Bed sores, abrasions, swelling, inflammation, broken bones and contusions can all be symptoms of nursing home neglect or abuse. Your loved one’s safety may hinge upon your investigation of such issues.

Confusion, agitation and lack of physical movement

If your family member seems agitated all the time or confused (especially if he or she does not have dementia), it may be a reaction to nursing home neglect. Lack of physical activity, as well, suggests substandard care. If your loved one is immobile, care providers should be helping him or her change positions every few hours.

Patients who are mobile should have ample opportunities to participate in activities offered by the Maryland facility where he or she resides. Never hesitate to reach out for additional support from law enforcement, patient advocates or legal representatives, if you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused.