At The Floyd Law Firm, we stand against nursing home abuse of any kind, and we will stand with you to help fight it. Nursing home abuse or negligence includes medical neglect, physical abuse, financial abuse, and mental or emotional abuse. If you strongly suspect that abuse or neglect has occurred or is occurring, relay your concerns to the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or the police. When you have reason to believe that nursing home abuse or neglect has happened, please notify the nursing home director, keep detailed notes, and contact us at The Floyd Law Firm for information about the legal assistance that you may need.
The first step is being aware of the warning signs of nursing home abuse.
The warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect can be very subtle, making it difficult to easily identify in the beginning. Sometimes there are no physical signs that are apparent, certainly not when the abuse is emotional or financial. It sadly takes time to realize when something may be wrong with your loved one, especially if they are already a naturally quiet or shy type of person to begin with.
Neglect or abuse can be identified and observed by noticing certain changes in the patient or resident.
Many behavioral changes that occur with patients or residents of nursing homes can only be identified when friends or loved ones visit often. It is usually one’s loved ones who can more easily and adequately detect any changes in the mannerisms or demeanor of the patient. It is unfortunately often that many elderly residents who do not get to see family or friends regularly are those most likely to be unable to express their own concerns about the neglect or abuse they may be experiencing.
Know the warning signs of possible abuse or neglect:
- Excessive thirst due to dehydration from lack of water being provided
- Withdrawn behavior or abnormal changes in behavior or mood
- Loss of appetite due to medication or induced stress
- Lack of sleep or insomnia due to medication or worry
- Sudden weight loss due to stress or poor diet being administered
- Refusal to eat or take medications because of distress
- Increased vulnerability to injury and infection possible due to mental duress
- Depression, withdrawal, and lack of eye contact
- Refusal to interact or speak with others especially if normally chatty
- Sudden change in personality or behavior such as anger or nervousness
- Agitation or fearful darting eyes and more trembling than normal
- Unusual behavior such as rocking, biting, picking, shaking, or clenching fists
- Failing to sustain friendly interaction with fellow nursing facility residents
- Alterations in appearance or lacking overall personal hygiene
- Malnutrition as evidenced by visible bedsores and frequent infections
- Rapid weight loss, particularly if the resident requires help to feed themselves
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers from staff failing to adequately turn the resident
- Attempts to escape or wander away from the facility
Prevention of Nursing Home Neglect
Steps must be taken to prevent injuries to the elderly residents. Nursing facility staff must be readily available to assist residents with any issues regarding their care and mobility. Safety and sanitation are very important. The lighting, railings, flooring, wheelchairs, walkers, beds, and furniture should be inspected regularly.
Falls due to slippery floors, loose handrails, or walkers in disrepair can be prevented. Entrapment, injury, or suffocation caused by a malfunctioning bed are inexcusable.
There needs to be a combined effort of all nursing facility employees, medical providers, visitors, family members, and the residents themselves – to remain vigilant and observant of the nursing home’s general environment and the overall condition of all its residents.
Nursing home injury prevention needs to be a top priority, including:
- Awareness of the presence of environmental hazards
- Providing swift and adequate wound care
- Controlling contamination and infections such as Staph, MRSA, Flu, and Pneumonia
- Maintaining properly skilled nursing home staffing levels
- Prevention of medication errors and dosage errors
- Prohibiting any and all over-medication or chemical restraints on the elderly
The Floyd Law Firm PC has experienced attorneys committed to the practice of Elder Law and Nursing Home Abuse. We continue to pay close attention to any changes in legislation that affect seniors and the elderly. Many legal issues can arise when one is facing life in a retirement home or nursing facility. Any neglect or abuse can lead to illness, disability, or chronic conditions. It can be very stressful for your and your loved one. We will help you plan legal action that is most appropriate for your situation and for the circumstances affecting your family member. You and your family will be able to rest easy knowing that you have trusted legal support from knowledgeable experts who will stand with you to fight nursing home abuse.