When you select a skilled nursing facility to take care of your parent, you expect that the staff will take care of him or her. Unfortunately, the standard of care can fall short in some facilities. How can you be sure that your loved one is not suffering nursing home abuse and neglect? These tips can help you protect your parent and ensure his or her safety.
At every visit, look for signs of abuse. Abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual, or neglectful. It can be important to look for these signs at every visit, and to pay attention to changes in your parent’s behavior, attitude, and health.
Physical signs of abuse include:
- Bed sores
- Fractures, falls, or head injuries
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Unexplained welts, bruises, or other wounds
- Unclean conditions and unsanitary conditions
- Your parent is frequently ill or has frequent infections
Behavioral signs of abuse include:
- Showing agitation or becoming extremely withdrawn
- No longer communicating with family members and friends
- Beginning to wander around inexplicably
- Wanting to be isolated from other people
- Fear of being touched
- Biting or rocking
- Reluctance to speak in front of certain nursing staff members
In addition, pay attention to the staff, other residents, and your parent’s records. Notice how the staff treats your parent. If no one checks in on you while you are visiting, that could be a sign of neglect. If a staff member stays in the room and refuses to leave during your visit, that could be a sign of controlling abusive behavior by the staff member. Notice how staff members interact with other residents as you walk down the halls, as that can be a sign of how they treat your parent when you are not visiting.
If you notice foul smells or unsanitary conditions, that could be a sign of neglect. Review your parent’s bank statements and bills, checking for strange and unusual transactions, which can be a sign of financial abuse.
If you find something that concerns you, you may want to consider calling your state’s office for adult protective services. You may also want to speak with an experienced, skilled nursing home abuse lawyer for guidance on how to proceed. Furthermore, should there be abuse or neglect, your parent may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment caused by the abuse.
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