It’s a difficult decision to place someone you love in a nursing home. After screening facilities and ultimately making a decision, it’s important as a family member to be mindful of the circumstances and monitor for any signs of negligence since elders are in many cases are emotionally and/or physically unable report inadequate care. Be aware of the patients care needs including hygiene, medication and nutrition, develop a regular rapport with nursing and specialized staff to discuss care and be mindful of the physical appearance of the patient upon visiting. It’s important to take notes and ask for questions and explanations as issues arise. A report should be filed immediately if any physical or emotional changes are evident.
Neglect can be difficult to determine since the aging process itself can take a physical and emotional toll on the body. One of the most common signs of neglect is the development of skin ulcers, better known as bed sores. When patients are left resting in one position for long periods of time, bones and skin are subject to friction and pressure, resulting in painful skin sores which can develop and worsen very quickly. Nurses are required to regularly turn patients to prevent the development of bed sores, which are not only very painful, but have the potential to lead to very serious and sometimes life threatening infections. If bedsores are present and reported, nursing home staff should treat them immediately.
Staff members who are unwilling to respond to inquiry immediately or who refuse to allow family or friends to visit unattended should be reported to supervisory staff. Other types of nursing home abuse may be:
• Witholding food or not providing food according to prescribed schedule
• Poor hydration
• Failing to dispense medication on schedule
• Medication errors
• Poor sanitary and toiling facilities
• Inadequate daily hygiene, care and grooming
• Improper supervising
• Verbal, mental or physical abuse
• Failure to recognize need for or provide emergency care
If you notice signs of depression, personality changes and changes in physical appearance and suspect any care neglect or nursing home abuse, please call Okun, Oddo & Babat at 212-642-0950 immediately for a consultation and evaluation. You may also email us. We pride ourselves on being advocates for elders in these unfortunate circumstances.