Deciding to put an elderly parent into a nursing home or assisted living facility is never a simple choice. Even in situations with severe illnesses, physical impairments or dementia, adult children often struggle with their inability to provide the care themselves and worry about the quality of life that their loved one will have once in a nursing home.
You may have done research into every nearby facility and picked one with an impeccable record of care. Perhaps you received recommendations from people you know and trust about the facility. No matter how carefully you select a nursing home, it only takes one bad hiring decision to put your loved one at risk. You need to inform yourself about the signs of abuse and neglect in nursing home occupants.
The Biden administration has proposed Federal Nursing home minimum staffing guidelines that would require nursing home and assisted care facilities, impacting Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts facilities in New England. These minimum staffing guidelines would become applicable to any such facility that participates in federal programs that subsidize and pay for patient care which means the overwhelming majority of such nursing home and assisted care facilities The preliminary estimate as reported by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid service is that up to 75% of such facilities presently do not meet the proposed minimum guidelines. Competent staff, clearly developed policies and proper training and supervision go a long way to assuring the safety of nursing home residents. However, staff shortages in critical areas, particularly involving direct patient care, think ratios of staff to patients, will nevertheless render such facilities potentially unsafe for residents, particularly those that are medically vulnerable.
Neglect is also a serious issue. There are things that family members and alert friend can look for even if there are no signs of overt abuse. Pay attention to signs of neglect. Unbrushed hair, degraded oral health, stained clothing and bed sores are all signs that your loved one may not be getting the kind of care you expected from the nursing home. Neglect can result in infections, falls and other serious threats to the health of those in nursing homes.
When you suspect your loved one is facing abuse or experiencing neglect, ask him or her for input. In some cases, your loved one could be too frightened to speak up about what's happening, especially if staff won't allow you privacy when you visit. You may want to document everything once you have reason to feel concerned and make a point of seeing about moving your loved one to another facility if the issue isn't resolved quickly.
Neglect is a form of elderly abuse and doesn't always leave a physical bruise.The most obvious and well-known form of abuse is physical abuse. This involves hitting, kicking or otherwise intentionally inflicting pain or physical damage on another person. Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse that may not leave visible scars, but it can leave deep emotional ones. Bruises, broken bones or a newly developed fear of quick movements or loud voices could be warning signs of physical abuse.
Emotional or psychological abuse doesn't leave marks. Instead, it involves caregivers or others degrading, insulting threatening, isolating or humiliating someone. In some cases, gaslighting, a means of undermining someone's faith in one's own mental faculties or perceptions, also happens. Emotional abuse is harder to detect, but signs may include changes in mood, behavior or socialization.
Our Law Firm along with colleagues in other states, regularly investigate and initiate lawsuits for wrongful death and neglect resulting in serious harm. We have seen instances of complete breakdown of the safety protocols put in place and expected by families who trusted the care of their loved ones. It makes our blood boil that this is the way people deserving dignity and proper care should be harmed.