Don’t Ignore These Common Signs Of Nursing Home Negligence

It’s worrisome enough to trust a loved one’s care to a stranger, but when those caregivers don’t provide the care you expect, the situation can move from worrisome to alarming. Nursing home negligence is an all-too-common scenario that millions of seniors and their families deal with every year. As concerning as this situation is, keep in mind that not every nursing home is bad, not every resident will be neglected, and that there are ways you can protect your loved one.

One of the best ways to do this is to learn to recognize the signs of negligence so you can intervene early and prevent the situation from escalating. Sometimes negligence is just the result of poorly trained staff, one individual staff person, or honest mistakes. In other cases, the negligence can be a sign of a systemic problem in the facility.

In any of these situations, early intervention can help prevent a case of neglect from becoming a pattern or developing into abuse.

Signs Of Negligence

Nursing home negligence occurs when staff members or the facility fail to do something. It is a breach of duty and an indication of substandard care. This differs from abuse because there is no intent to cause harm, as is the case with abuse. Neglect can take many forms: physical, social/emotional, or medical.

Common examples include:

  • Bedsores
  • Changes in behavior
  • Dehydration
  • Falls
  • Hygiene concerns
  • Infections
  • Instances of wandering
  • Isolation
  • Lack of medical treatment
  • Malnutrition
  • Medication Errors
  • Unsafe or unsanitary condition
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Unexplained weight loss

While it is possible to be unhappy with the level of care provided by a nursing home, that does not necessarily mean a senior has been neglected. Many seniors may complain simply because they are unhappy about being in a nursing home or are not used to having restrictions placed upon themselves. That does not mean the nursing home is being neglectful. True neglect leaves evidence and results in actual harm.

If You Suspect Negligence

There are several actions you can take if you suspect negligence:

  • Talk to your loved one. When possible, ask your loved one directly about your concerns and how they feel they are treated in the nursing home. Pay special attention to explanations for your specific concerns like injuries or weight loss. Take note of their demeanor when they answer you. Do they sound like their usual self or are they acting out of character or afraid?
  • Visit more frequently. Seniors who have frequent visitors are less likely to be neglected or abused. Visitors can help provide care, keep the senior’s spirits up so they can better help themselves, build rapport with staff, and keep an eye how the home operates.
  • Talk to nursing home staff. Talk to your loved one’s caregivers and/or the site manager if you are at all concerned about his/her situation. Be as specific as possible and non-threatening. Sometimes upper management is unaware of a staff members treatment of residents.
  • Talk to a nursing home attorney. If you still have concerns or proof that your loved one is being neglected, contact The Beregovich Law Firm. Our nursing home attorney has experience dealing with situations of elder abuse and neglect and can help you start a conversation with a facility or begin a lawsuit if need be.

Call The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to arrange a free consultation.

Is It Nursing Home Negligence Or Abuse?

If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home or are at the point of considering nursing home care, you are no doubt concerned with all the stories you hear about nursing home negligence and even abuses that can occur in nursing homes. The statistics are alarming with some estimates claiming that over 24% of nursing home residents have been physically abused at least once. The true numbers are likely even higher when you consider that much mistreatment isn’t reported and that the statistic mentioned above doesn’t take into account emotional or financial abuse.

Regulations Exist To Protect Nursing Home Residents

Nursing homes are federally regulated and are also regulated by the states. Federal nursing home regulations state, “The resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” Florida regulations are very similar and a violation of these rights is basis for legal action.

While a lawsuit can’t erase memories of past circumstances, it can help prevent the same injustice from happening to other families and the financial rewards can be used to help finance new care options.

Negligence Vs. Abuse

One of the first things an elder law or nursing home attorney will ask if whether the victim was neglected or abused. This helps establish the basis for the lawsuit. There are many different examples of negligence and abuse but broadly defined:

  • Negligence occurs when nursing home staff fail to do something. Neglect is a breach of the duty a facility or care provider owes to their charges. Neglect can be physical, verbal, emotional, or medical. Examples include:
    • Routine berating or ignoring patients.
    • Insufficient or non-existing basic hygiene or care, such as infrequent baths or lack of food or water.
    • Failure to provide needed medications or medical treatments.
    • Failure to provide basic motility movements to prevent bedsores.
  • Abuse occurs when harm is inflicted or the staff purposely takes an action that results in harm. It is the presence of this intent that makes abuse different and more serious than negligence. Examples of abuse include:
    • Physical abuses, which typically leave visible signs, coupled with poor explanations for how they occurred.
    • Emotional abuses such as threats, harassment, intimidation, or exploitation/control.
    • Financial abuse involves the unlawful or unethical control of or access to the financial accounts or identity of a person for the express purposes of personal financial gain for the provider.
    • Sexual abuse includes any form of sexual contact between a patient and a paid nursing home professional.

There are many nuances in nursing home abuse and negligence situations. Cases are often complex and vary widely from one to another. To find out if your loved one has suffered abuse or negligence, it’s best to speak with a nursing home attorney at The Beregovich Law Firm.

We offer free consultations and have helped many families recover damages from nursing home abuse or negligence.

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation.