There’s a hidden epidemic in America. The elderly, especially those with no remaining family and few friends, are in jeopardy. Even a member of your immediate family could be in danger.
Nearly five million elderly Americans are reportedly abused each year. With over two million of them living in long-term health care facilities, it only makes good sense to be on the lookout for signs of neglect or abuse at the nursing home or care facility housing your friend or loved one.
Negligent Elder Care
Like other businesses, there are good ones and bad ones. If you suspect someone you know is in a negligent nursing home or healthcare facility, here’s some things to look for:
- High staff turnover
- No water pitcher or glass in the room
- The patient is in the same position each and every time you come to see them
- Developing pressure and skin sores
- Unclean living environment
- Oxygen runs out or canella is constantly misaligned
- Facility equipment is not clean and in good repair
- Deteriorating muscle mass, personal hygiene, or appearance
- Unusual or consistent and persistent patient complaints
- Lack of clean clothing and bedding
- Failure of the facility to provide common reports and updates
- Failure to perform physical therapy
- Non-performance of agreed procedures, goals, or benchmarks
- Unexplained marks and bruises
Remember, neglect is not always physical
Elderly people are abused in ways other than physical. They are subjected to verbal, financial, mental, and emotional abuse. Here are some key indicators that should make you suspicious:
- Unwarranted isolation or failure of the patient to mainstream with the population
- Patient declines involvement with activities and counselors at the center
- Medication is withheld
- Behavioral changes such as detachment or abandonment of favorite interests
- Confusion, mood swings, sleep disruption
- Sudden fixation on trivial details
- Fidgeting and avoiding direct eye contact
- Undetermined anxiety
- Expresses constant concern about financial pressure
What to Do When You Suspect Neglect and Abuse
When you have reasonable suspicion your loved one, friend, or colleague is in a neglectful situation, you will be confused at first. “If I confront this with the facility, will my loved one face retribution when I’m not there? What groups or authorities should I report this to? Where can I find help? What kind of true proof do I have to have?
Below are just a few things to consider in the first place to avoid abusive situations:
- Ask for references from your doctors and healthcare professionals. They may be reluctant to make them at first but press for their best advice.
- Consider smaller facilities with higher occupancy rates.
- Look for places with a lower ratio of nurses and qualified staff members to patients. Places with fewer CNAs per patient are prone to more complaints.
- Interview and deeply reference check the facilities considered before committing.
- Google the name of the institution for complaints.
- Gravitate toward facilities not owned by for-profit companies or chains.
- Be sure the patient has regular and random visits by outsiders.
- Keep the patient involved in strong social and group connections.
- Be sure they keep and use a personal cell phone.
When you become concerned and suspect neglect or abuse is occurring at a nursing home, or any senior care facility, don’t guess. Don’t take chances. Don’t wait. Contact an expert lawyer in abuse cases. You’ll get answers from a firm with years of practice behind it. Active years that give them vision and relationships with governmental and civic agencies, personnel, and systems like few others have. Well known and respected in the community, Ed Bernstein & Associates is known throughout Vegas Valley. Enough Said. Call Ed.