Nursing home abuse is a serious issue, with neglect considered one of the most common forms of abuse found in facilities across the country. Neglect occurs when a nursing home resident does not receive the care he or she needs – the very reason many families trust their loved one to a nursing home in the first place! The level of care needed varies of course, but it often includes basic hygiene, assistance with meals and helping residents with mobility which some nursing homes do not provide on a consistent basis, putting vulnerable residents at risk for health problems.
To prevent injury to their loved ones, family members should remain vigilant and look for signs of neglect and abuse in the nursing home setting. There are a number of signs which may point to a problem which often include poor personal hygiene, unsanitary living conditions, loss or lack of mobility, poor nutrition, injuries and psychological issues.
Personal hygiene is a big part of the responsibility that nurses and staff provide in a nursing home setting. Many residents require help bathing, brushing their teeth, getting dressed and combing their hair every day. Hygiene is a key part of staying healthy, especially when it comes to dental care which is a serious issue in nursing homes across the country.
Nursing homes must provide a safe and clean environment for residents. Failing to establish and maintain an infection control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment for residents may point to neglect. Unsanitary living conditions can set your loved one up for a host of problems.
Mobility is by far one of the most challenging aspects of getting older. To prevent health issues such as bed sores and infections, nursing homes must help residents to move around, exercise and remain as active as possible. Residents should be encouraged and provided assistance to build muscle tone and strength, improve circulation and increase balance to prevent injuries from occurring. If your loved one is left in bed for long periods of time, he or she runs the risk of losing all mobility and their health can deteriorate quickly.
Some percentage of nursing home residents suffer from malnutrition and dehydration often caused by inadequate staffing. Poor nutrition affects millions of people in nursing homes across the country and can result in rapid physical decline.
If your loved one has suffered broken bones, head injuries or has unexplained bruising, these may be indicators of neglect. Just by not helping an elderly person walk across the room might set them up for a fall when they try to do things for themselves. Falls are very prevalent among the elderly and can led to significant disability and even death so it is important that nursing home provide assistance.
Emotional changes should be taken seriously also. If your loved one grows distant or seems depressed, anxious or fearful, there may be a problem with the care they are receiving. They may even begin to neglect themselves by refusing to eat, take medication or perform basic hygiene when they are suffering from emotional duress.
Unfortunately neglect is a pervasive issue across nursing homes and can causes serious physical and psychological harm to residents. If your family member is injured in a nursing home setting and you suspect negligence played a role, it is important to seek help. Contact the Iowa nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Hemminger Law Firm for immediate assistance at 515-283-2116.
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