La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.

Warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect

The time arrived when you had to make the difficult decision to move your elderly loved one into a nursing home. You did your research to make sure your chosen facility is up to par. Unfortunately, incidents of abuse and neglect can happen even in well-run, high-quality homes. Keeping an eye out for red flags can help you identify potential problems.

Some of the warning signs listed here can result from causes other than abuse or neglect. However, noticing them should always be a reason to look further until you do learn exactly what happened. Speaking with an experienced attorney can shed more light on the best way to protect your loved one's legal rights.

Listen to what they tell you

If your loved one complains about incidents that sound abusive or neglectful, take her or him seriously and investigate further. Some people make the mistake of dismissing these claims, especially if the senior citizen in question experiences cognitive issues, delusions or paranoia. Bear in mind, however, that abuse and neglect are often aimed at individuals who are least likely to be believed. Even if there is a good chance the senior misunderstood or misremembered something, do look further into any concerning statements.

Common non-verbal signs

For various reasons, seniors may be unwilling or unable to tell you about abuse or neglect. Look out for physical signs that your loved one is not being properly cared for, such as bed sores, unhygienic conditions and unexplained cuts or bruises. A sudden loss of weight can mean insufficient food and drink. Personality changes, such as increased fearfulness, can also mean something untoward is going on.

Medical issues

Nursing home residents can also suffer from medical neglect or malpractice. Sometimes, staff members do not give medication on time or fail to administer proper wound care. As with other medical settings, doctors may give an improper diagnosis or prescribe the wrong treatment. Stay current with your loved one's medical care by reviewing records and speaking with providers on a regular basis. If something seems off, you may want to seek a second opinion from another doctor.

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