When you choose a particular nursing home for your aging parent, the assumption is that you have done your homework. You have gone through many other facilities to settle on this particular one. The last thing you expect is that your parent will be neglected or abused. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect in nursing homes are more common than you imagine. Abuse may be physical, verbal, emotional, psychological or sexual. Neglect happens when residents don't receive the care that they should. You will need a keen eye and senses to detect it. Here are a few signs that could suggest abuse or neglect in a nursing home:
Look out for unexplained bruises, injuries, and even broken bones. These could be a sign that residents are left to walk unassisted or do not get help when they need it. As a result, they try to do things on their own.
They could also be a sign of physical battery.
Is your loved one getting enough exercise or is he suddenly having mobility issues? Bed sores could be a sign that your loved one is left in bed for prolonged periods of time.
Is your parent falling sick more often? Frequent illness may be a sign of poor nutrition. It is possible that your parent is not feeling well and is not getting the required assistance.
Also look out for weight loss or weight gain and dehydration. These, too, could be signs of malnutrition.
Look closely at the residents. Do they look clean and well-groomed? Most residents need help with their personal hygiene and grooming.
If this help is not available, you will notice unkempt hair, untrimmed nails, poor oral hygiene and wrongly buttoned clothes.
Look carefully at the exterior and interior of the nursing home. How clean is the environment? Look keenly at the resident's room. Examine the beddings and bathroom. Are they clean enough?
Observe your parent for any unusual behavior. Is he wandering off more often? Is he unusually agitated or withdrawn? Does he suddenly fear being touched? Is he sucking, biting or rocking? These are tell-tale signs of abuse. If the resident does not want to talk in the presence of staff, all may not be well.
There are excellent nursing homes out there. But it is important to know that abuse and neglect is also common. Do not ignore any sign of abuse. In case you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse, consult a nursing home abuse or personal injury lawyer.