The rising number of elderly individuals in America has resulted in a steadily growing nursing home population. For this reason, many families are now faced with the decision to move an older relative into a nursing home. However, it is important that the patient’s family and friends understand what the signs of nursing home negligence may be in order to protect their loved ones from neglect at the hands of their caregivers.
One of the most common forms of negligence is leaving a bedridden patient in the same position for a long period of time. This can result in the development of bedsores due to the unrelieved pressure on the patient’s body. For this reason, nursing homes are required to regularly turn or move those patients who cannot move on their own.Failing to control patient bedsores will not only lead to avoidable discomfort, but also can easily result in the development of life threatening medical conditions. Because of this, unexplained bedsores are a common sign of nursing home neglect.
Poor Patient Hygiene
One of the most important parts of maintaining the health of a nursing home patient is to keep them clean at all times. This includes regular baths, hair and nail care, and changing adult diapers and bedding if the patient is incontinent. Failure to do so can result in the development of skin, fingernail and genital infections. As with bedsores, this type of negligence can result in severe discomfort, injury and avoidable death. During a visit, the family should closely observe the cleanliness of the patient and his or her room. If there are signs of grime, urine or feces on the patient, it is likely that the nursing home staff and management are behaving in a negligent manner.
Many nursing home patients suffer avoidable weight loss due to the failure of the nursing home to ensure that they receive an adequate and balanced diet. Improper diet can make the patient vulnerable to disease and can result in an avoidable death. Poor nutrition is especially common among patients with cognitive disorders who are difficult to feed. When visiting a patient, the family should be aware of any unexpected and sustained weight loss. This is especially important when the patient is unable to effectively communicate with the family. Such weight loss is often the result of negligent staff practices.
Mental and Emotional Negligence
One of the harder to detect of the 4 signs of nursing home negligence, mental and emotional negligence can have a major impact on the patient’s overall health. Failing to maintain an active and mentally engaging environment can lead to a variety of mental illnesses and can contribute to the patient’s avoidable death. Families should be on the lookout for listlessness or an unwillingness to talk when they visit their family member. In many cases, this can be a sign of mental or emotional negligence. Furthermore, the family should make certain that the nursing home provides effective entertainment and community activities for its patients. Detecting the common signs of nursing home negligence can help ensure that the elderly and disabled family members receive the care that they deserve. However, if a family believes that their loved one is the victim of negligent nursing home practices, it is vital to immediately seek qualified legal help.
The law offices of Eric. J Hertz, P.C., have specialized in the field of nursing home abuse and negligence, and can provide a legal consultation for those individuals who believe that they or a loved one have suffered from nursing home negligence.
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