After a 29-year-old woman in an “incapacitated state” unexpectedly gave birth in December inside a Phoenix health care facility where she was cared for full-time, many are questioning the possibility of nursing home abuse in facilities where their loved ones reside. When a nursing home fails to provide proper care, the consequences can be grave.
While an arrest had been made in the sexual abuse of the Phoenix nursing home resident, statistics show that these types of incidents are rarely even discovered. According to one report, only 1 in 214 cases of elder abuse is reported to adult protective services or law enforcement. What makes this limited knowledge even more frightening is that elder abuse triples the risk of premature death and causes unnecessary illness, injury, and suffering
Even with intense research to find a reputable nursing facility for your family member isn't enough. Once you've settled on a facility and health care professionals, it's important to continue to look for signs of elder abuse.
Warning Signs Of Elder Abuse
Lack of personal hygiene. The nursing staff is expected to help residents with daily hygiene routines. Simple tasks like brushing hair, filing nails, bathing, and brushing teeth should all be completed by a well-trained staff member. If you notice your loved one's hygiene isn't well-kept, ask for an explanation from the staff. This may be your first indication that an elder law attorney is needed.
Unsanitary Living Space
Each space in the nursing home facility should be safe, sanitary, and comfortable for the residents. A lack of upkeep and cleaning within the facility is a sign of neglect and could break federal laws which mandate nursing homes be kept in a certain order. The bedding, furniture, and common areas should be cleaned regularly.
Signs of Lack of Nutrition
If your loved one is malnourished or dehydrated, these are warning sign of neglect. Poor nutrition should not be a factor for your loved one in a nursing home facility. Issues like inadequate staffing to gross negligence could all be at play. An elder law attorney can help you decide how to approach physical issues that developed from a lack of nutrition.
Bed Sores or Loss of Mobility
Part of the professional health care team's job is to help residents move around the facility. Whether it's from the bed to a chair or into the dining area for lunch, your loved one should be cared for regularly to help them maintain strength to stay mobile. Bed sores or a drastic change in mobility are signs your loved one may be left in the same position for far too long.
The fragile bones of older nursing home residents can be easily broken during a fall. Bruises or head injuries that can't be explained are a definite sign that inadequate care is being performed and your search for a “lawyer near me” should begin right away.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports roughly 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries. The average nursing home resident falls 2.6 times each year. While not all falls are the result of elder abuse or neglect, the facility should be able to account for how the incident occurred and changes made to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Fear of a Caregiver
If your loved one begins to show signs of fear toward a caregiver or blatantly says they don't want to be looked after by a certain staff member, begin asking questions. Emotional elder abuse is unacceptable, and if staff members are being verbally abusive, it could lead to depression or acts of anger from your family member.
Elder Abuse Attorney
If you fear your loved one is being abused in a nursing home facility, turn to the professional guidance of an elder abuse attorney. The Hopkins Law Firm can explain your options and help you right the injustices suffered by your loved one at the hands of a healthcare professional.