Many people don’t realize that nursing home abuse and neglect is a real problem and that when it occurs, the victims are entitled to compensation, which can be pursued through a nursing home abuse and neglect personal injury claim. In many cases nursing home abuse is not an intentional or malicious action, but a lack of appropriate action to prevent problems and ensure adequate care is provided to nursing home residents. If you have an elderly relative who is in a nursing home which has not provided adequate care, or has intentionally harmed your family member, then that nursing home is guilty of elder abuse or neglect, and you deserve compensation for the necessary care that results from this form of personal injury.
Indications of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
More than half of all reports of elderly abuse fall into the category of neglect. This is where the caretaker (or nursing home) of the elderly individual fails to provide the necessary care and attention to ensure that person’s health and wellbeing. Alternatively, nursing home abuse generally specifically refers to active and intentional harm. There are many indications of nursing home abuse and neglect, and these signs are similar for both situations.
Any sudden or extreme change in behavior is one indication of elderly abuse or neglect, including increased anger and distress or becoming withdrawn. Seeing that the nursing home resident has not been bathed or groomed, has lost a lot of weight, or is dehydrated can also give you a clue as to how he or she is being cared for. You might also see signs of injuries, either from active abuse or from falling due to neglect. You should also be aware of any medications and medical devices that are necessary for your loved one’s health and ensure that those are available and being provided. Further, you should ensure that there are not any environmental hazards that pose a risk to your loved one’s health.
Nursing Home Neglect Takes Many Forms
There are many types of nursing home neglect and many reasons that this occurs. For example, the facility may be understaffed, without enough people to provide adequate and prompt care to the residents of that facility. This often happens when management tries to minimize their costs by hiring as few employees and nurses as possible. You can see signs of this type of neglect when you visit your loved one, notice that he or she is unclean or not well groomed, and have difficulty locating anyone to discuss the matter with. In fact, if you always get the impression that there are not enough staff around the facility, this should raise your suspicions. Your South Carolina personal injury attorney can help you to investigate this by requesting the staff records and the recorded number of patients in the facility for comparison.
Another common form of nursing home neglect occurs when there is not enough accountability or responsibility when it comes to providing medication to residents. This can lead to medications being stolen by the caretakers or simple mistakes that are made when staff is overworked or undereducated concerning medication distribution.
Nursing home neglect can also occur through unsanitary conditions or practices. The elderly are susceptible to illness, meaning that they need to be protected through proper hygiene. Nursing home residents are also often unable to maintain their own hygiene needs, and need the staff to ensure that they are bathed, provided with clean clothing, and not exposed to disease. They also need to be protected from living in squalor. Their rooms should be clean, as should common areas, and dining areas. If you can tell from the surroundings that unsanitary conditions or practices are happening, then you must do something about it.
When the elderly are deprived of food or water, this is also a form of nursing home neglect. This can cause tremendous damage to a person’s health and mental wellbeing. Any signs of losing weight without a medical explanation or becoming dehydrated should be taken very seriously. You should also listen to your loved one as long as he or she is able to communicate.
What To Do If You See Indications of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you feel that someone might be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, then you might begin to address the problem by confronting the staff of the facility. They may tell you that what you are perceiving as an indication of a problem is actually explainable by a simple accident or self-inflicted harm. If it is a onetime occurrence, and the explanation seems reasonable, then you may have nothing to worry about; but be vigilant. If things aren’t adding up and if there are multiple signs or repeat issues, then you should take the next step and contact a South Carolina personal injury attorney to find out what your legal options are. At The Jeffcoat Firm, our nursing home abuse lawyers will fight vigorously to protect the rights and interests of your loved one. Our firm serves injured people and their families throughout Lexington and Richland County in South Carolina.