Putting a family member or loved one in a nursing home is one of the toughest decisions most people must ever make. Many times, it is a last resort, something you are doing because your loved one needs help that you cannot provide.
When your loved one goes to the nursing home, you expect that they will be treated well and taken care of. However, hearing stories about nursing home abuse and neglect can leave you troubled, which is why it is important to know about some common types of nursing home injuries.
Some nursing home injuries are the result of legitimate accidents, but some could be caused by abuse or neglect, which are forms of negligence.
Nursing home injuries can include major injuries such as broken bones, concussions or spinal injuries. They can also be less noticeable injuries such as bedsores, bruises or scrapes.
Bedsores occur when a person spends too much time lying in a bed. They are more than just marks on the skin; they can cause serious infections or lead to other conditions.
Bruises and scrapes can come from falls, which are common among the elderly and can happen more frequently if their caregivers are not paying attention.
Some nursing home injuries can come from equipment or items inside the nursing home, such as bedrails. It is important for nursing home staff to continually monitor the equipment and conditions inside the nursing home for safety.
In addition to physical injuries, nursing home residents are more susceptible to infections or illnesses. Lack of care or neglect increases the chance of these occurring.
Without proper care, your loved one can more easily catch a cold or the flu. These illnesses can cause serious complications if they already suffer from an underlying condition, such as heart disease or diabetes.
If you see any of these types of injuries on your loved one, it can be difficult to know how to approach the situation. You may want to directly confront the nursing home staff about it, but they are likely to deny it.
What to do if you suspect abuse or neglect
Unfortunately, if your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, telling the staff about it could make them retaliate by engaging in worse abuse. This is sometimes a reason that nursing home residents do not disclose the abuse.
You can ask your loved one about it, but make sure to do it in private, without staff or their caregiver around. If they deny the abuse, but you believe they are not being honest with you, more formal action could be warranted.
Before you report suspected nursing home abuse, gather evidence. Get the names and titles of all caregivers and question them, politely and respectfully, about your concerns.
Take notes on anything they say and take pictures of any signs of abuse. Present your findings to nursing home management.
Do not wait to act
If they do not take any action, consider consulting with an attorney who has experience with these types of cases. Your loved one deserves protection, and they might also be entitled to compensation under the law.
It is vital that you take action at the first sign of nursing home abuse. Your loved one could be unable to speak for themselves and be counting on you to help.