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Nursing Home Accidents

Protect your elderly loved ones–know the signs of nursing home neglect

As healthcare technology improves and the human lifespan continues to grow, more and more people are finding they need nursing home care to manage their end-of-life health and living needs. This has caused an expansion in the industry, as more and more organizations step up to fill the gap. Unfortunately, this large demand and the nature of full-time care itself can sometimes work together to obscure signs that a nursing home is not following through with its obligation to provide medically consistent care.

How neglect happens

When nursing homes wind up falling short, it is often through neglect, which can sometimes start benignly. For example, if a shift is short-staffed, staff members could become inconsistent with meals or with tasking two people to jobs when safety requires it. At other times, the neglect is not driven institutionally, but by a few bad apples among the staff, and at still other times, it is the direct result of management and training. In any case, it is an aberration from the way nursing homes are supposed to operate, and you need to know how to spot it so you can intervene to protect your loved ones if needed.

Signs of nursing home neglect

The NIH collected wide-ranging data on abuse and neglect in an attempt to discern what is known to the medical community at large about abuse and neglect. In it, a survey of CNAs working in various nursing homes around the country presents a fairly comprehensive list of actions that constitute neglect. Watch out for these:

  • No oral or dental care is provided.
  • There is no one doing range-of-motion exercises with the patient.
  • Residents do not get changed after each episode of incontinence.
  • Residents who are bedfast are ignored and not offered activities.
  • Prescribed wound care is ignored.
  • Ignoring/turning off a call light without following through with the request.
  • Failure to help with toileting and other basic care.

How common is it?

According to a recent report by ABC News, nursing home abuse and neglect happens in as many as 1 in 3 care facilities in the United States. This makes vigilance extremely important for anyone charged with protecting loved ones who need round-the-clock managed care.

If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse, talk to an attorney about your options. Solutions vary according to the situation, but an experienced attorney will be able to tell you whether you have a claim and what kinds of relief you might be able to seek, which will give you the options you need to take care of your aging loved ones.

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