Common Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
Not everyone knows what nursing home abuse or negligence looks like. If an elderly loved one is bruised or has a broken arm, it's natural to assume that assault has occurred. But what about other, less obvious signs of negligence? After all, you cannot always see unsanitary conditions, malnutrition or medication errors until it is too late.
The law firm of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain wants you to be aware of what to look for if you suspect nursing home negligence. Owners and operators of nursing homes, group homes and home health care providers have a strict responsibility to provide high levels of care. Most do. Some fail miserably. But what is nursing home negligence and what are some common signs to look for?
If you notice any of these common signs of nursing home negligence the next time you visit your loved one, contact us right away:
- Smell: You would not live in a house that smells like urine. Neither should your loved one. Foul odors, including urine, feces, vomit and spoiled food, are usually the first signs of unsanitary conditions somewhere in the unit.
- Neatness: If the lobby is not kept neat and tidy, it is a safe bet the deep cleaning in the corners is not being taken care of, either. If your initial impression of the common areas includes dust bunnies, dirty floors and rumpled carpets, you should take a closer look at the conditions. Check the corners of your loved one's room. Check the restrooms. Walk through the dining area. Chances are the conditions are generally unsanitary.
- Conversation: Listen to the residents talking among themselves. Is the chatter lively and friendly, or are people grumbling and generally unhappy? Go ahead and ask a few questions about living conditions. You may have to take some of the answers with a grain of salt, but the general comments can give you an impression of whether the residents feel they are being treated with dignity.
- Personal hygiene of residents: Residents of nursing homes should not smell any worse than a member of the general public. If you detect a foul odor, bad breath or general issues relating to improper hygiene, it is likely that the staff is not performing their responsibilities.
- Sudden change in personality: All residents go through a period of adjustment when moving to a nursing home or a group home. But if your loved one suddenly becomes withdrawn, frustrated or easily angered, it may be a sign of emotional or mental abuse and fear.
- Specific complaints: Talk to your loved one about general living conditions. Check to ensure that the prescribed diet and medical plans are being followed. Be wary if the staff has too many excuses for ignoring the plans.
- Bedsores and pressure ulcers: Bedsores are a common occurrence in homes where the bedding is not changed often enough or the resident does not receive the required help rolling over or getting in and out of bed. Do not trust that everything is OK just because you do not see any pressure ulcers. Ask to make a physical examination periodically.
- Excessive weight loss or weight gain: Losing or gaining too much weight too quickly can be a sign of malnutrition or improper nutrition. If you notice a sudden change in weight, ask to see your loved one's prescribed diet plan and medical records. Changes in weight may also be an indication of a medical condition or problems with prescription medications.
- Physical injuries: Bruises, sprains and broken bones are the most obvious signs of assault, physical abuse or lack of supervision to prevent injuries from falls and other accidents. Inquire about the injuries, but do not assume you will get a straight answer from the staff or management.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
If you suspect nursing home negligence, do not stop asking until you get the truth. You may not even get the straight story from your loved one. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain to start an independent investigation immediately by calling 888-353-0491 or emailing us.