Neglect and Abuse in Nursing Homes

neglect abuse nursing homes

Nursing Home Responsibilities

As a large part of the population of America ages to the point where they require additional care, the need for qualified nursing homes is growing. Many of these facilities offer the assistance and qualified staff necessary to care for their residents. However, when the staff does not perform their duties or is unable to based upon constraints in place in the home, the results can be heart-breaking.

Under state and federal laws, nursing homes and assisted care facilities must provide the basic necessities, including:

  • Fluids and nutrition, whether this is provided through general delivery by staff to residents or has to be administered through medically-supervised means;
  • Supervision adequate to the specific needs of the resident;
  • Medical care and treatment that is provided on a timely and appropriate manner;
  • Administration of medication in the correct dose on the correct schedule;
  • Clean clothes and linens;
  • Support with maintaining personal hygiene;
  • Assistance in performance of daily care routines;
  • Protection from safety and environmental hazards; and
  • Adequate shelter.

These are the basic necessities. Nursing home staff and administrators also may responsible for helping a resident get the services that he or she needs, including arranging for legal and financial professionals to prepare paperwork or manage affairs. Depending on the nature of the facility, staff may need to oversee a trust account that is used to pay bills and purchase supplies. The nature of a nursing home requires that a resident entrust a great deal of responsibility to the staff. Across the country, that trust is being violated with terrible regularity.

There are many different types of nursing home abuse, ranging from neglecting a patient for hours as he or she lies in a bed with soiled linens to forcefully grabbing a patient and restraining him, causing serious injuries. Nursing home residents have died from severe falls and medication overdoses, as well as intentional sexual and physical abuse. If you are worried about your parent, there are signs that may indicate that he or she is suffering from neglect or abuse at the nursing home, including:

  • Your mother or father exhibited sudden or extreme weight loss, decreased strength, disorientation, and other symptoms of malnutrition;
  • Your mom, who always took care of her appearance, is unkempt or disheveled when you visit;
  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers suddenly appear or get worse without any obvious reason;
  • Unexplained fractures, bruises, abrasions, or lacerations appear;
  • Your dad suddenly becomes fearful or unexpectedly combative;
  • Your parent is experiencing sleeplessness or having nightmares;
  • Nobody informed you about a sudden or dramatic change in a medical condition;
  • You came to visit your mom and found her restrained in her bed and none of the staff could explain the reason for the physical restraints;
  • The home has a generally disinterested or non responsive staff who ignore situations that need immediate attention, such as requests for help, as well as spills and other messes;
  • The nursing home always appears dirty and unsanitary conditions are left uncorrected, or staff is slow to address obvious issues;
  • The staff, including medical personnel, aids, and janitorial staff, are unfriendly or openly hostile in response to basic requests or inquiries; and
  • Property has gone missing without explanation.

The best advice that we can give you is to trust your instincts. Even if you are unable to visit your parent in the nursing home regularly, when you are there, pay attention to what is happening around you when you are there.

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