Nursing homes can provide incredible relief and invaluable resources when it comes to caring for your loved ones, but they can mean brand new concerns as well. Nursing homes require skilled, well-trained, and properly supervised staff to function properly, and the conditions in and around the nursing home need to be maintained as well. If either the people caring for your loved ones or their environments become problematic, we can be a key resource to keep your loved ones safe. With that in mind, check out the top three tips to keep your loved ones safe from nursing home dangers.
1. Watch for Elder Neglect
Even if a nursing home means well, elder neglect can be a major risk factor that you should be aware of. Especially if you notice that the nursing home is understaffed or if your loved one comments or complains, keep an eye out for any signs of elder neglect:
- Malnourishment or dehydration – As the summer approaches, it’s particularly critical to make sure that your loved ones are properly hydrated. Even if they don’t have difficulty eating or drinking on their own, this is a major risk factor that can occur if a nursing home isn’t paying enough attention.
- Weight loss – If you notice significant drops in the weight of your loved ones, it could be a sign that they’re not getting the nutrition they need.
- Hygiene – Hygiene becomes especially important for your loved ones once they’re in a nursing home, and if you notice any issues, it could be a sign of elder neglect. The caregivers in the nursing home should be able to assure you that your loved ones have the resources to maintain proper hygiene.
- Hazards in the environment – Wet floors, improperly maintained bedding, insufficient lighting, and poorly placed equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, and furniture) can all be dangerous for those living in nursing homes. If you encounter any of these conditions, it’s important to take action, not only for your loved one but for everyone residing at the nursing home.
- Soiled bedding – If the bedding provided for your loved ones isn’t clean and maintained properly, it can become a major issue. If you notice that your loved ones have soiled bedding and the nursing home isn’t addressing the issue promptly, that can be a clear indication of elder neglect.
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2. Prevent Elder Abuse
While elder neglect is more likely, elder abuse can also occur at nursing homes. If you encounter any of the following signs of abuse, it’s critical that you act right away to protect your loved ones.
- Bruises and injuries – If you notice any injuries that your loved one has suffered it can be a clear symptom of elder abuse occuring at the nursing home. Nursing home staff may have insufficient training or oversight, and often the families of those living in nursing homes may be the first to notice these signs of abuse. If you spot any injuries like these, it’s essential to take action right away to protect those you love.
- Complaints from your loved ones – Even if your loved ones struggle with cognitive issues, it’s helpful to listen to their comments and complaints about the nursing home they’re staying at. While many people who live in nursing homes are too afraid to explicitly state the abuse they’re suffering, if you see any signs of abuse, it’s better to look into the issue to know for sure.
3. Get Help! Avoid Nursing Home Dangers
Contact a law firm that handles elder abuse/neglect cases – An experienced law firm that specializes in cases of elder abuse and neglect can help you navigate the options available to you to keep your loved ones safe. If you’re encountering the signs or issues discussed above, get in touch for a free consultation and see how you can get justice for any suffering your loved one may have endured.
4. Understand the Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse
It is too easy to dismiss the risk of nursing home abuse, especially in high-end or luxury nursing homes. However, nursing home abuse can take place in even the most luxurious nursing homes, with a high staff to patient ratios. Available statistics on nursing home abuse estimate that more than five-million nursing home patients are abused each year. There isn’t one type of nursing home that’s inherently safer than another.
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5. Top 5 Tips Research Nursing Homes and Keep Current on News
Before choosing a nursing home for a loved one, be sure to conduct thorough research into the nursing home to ensure that there haven’t been any reports of elder abuse to licensing agencies or through the state. Read through online reviews to see what other families have written about their own experiences at the nursing home. If reviews frequently provide negative feedback about the staff and how they treat residents poorly, be very careful. This could potentially indicate a problem.
It is equally important to stay current with the news reports about nursing homes in your area. Just because there wasn’t a reported problem with a nursing home when you selected a nursing home, doesn’t mean that something won’t happen in the future. By keeping tabs on the news reports, you’ll keep your loved one more protected.
Please keep in mind that if you’re seeing signs of elder neglect or abuse, then other patients at the same nursing home are probably suffering as well. By speaking up and contacting a law firm like Kryder Law Group you’re not only protecting your loved ones but potentially many others at the same nursing home.