Nursing home neglect is tragic and heartbreaking. The very people who need care and assistance the most often do not get it from those entrusted to watch over them. Even when this treatment does not venture into full-fledged abuse, neglect itself can lead to all sorts of physical, mental and emotional difficulties.
As you put your parents into a nursing home, neglect is one of the main things you want to watch out for. It can be tricky to identify risks in advance. The tour of the nursing home looks great, the staff seems friendly and they assure you that they will take great care of your loved ones — but that's the same speech you get at every home. You know that neglect happens. What signs should you look for?
1. Poor hygiene
The elderly often need assistance with daily tasks that most people take for granted. These could include taking a shower, brushing their teeth and using the bathroom. When hygiene starts to slip, it may be a sign that no one is helping them do these things anymore.
Bringing water to the elderly whenever they need it can be challenging for workers, especially when they are short-staffed. They don't have time to do everything, so they start skipping jobs. When an elderly person seems far too thirsty or constantly dehydrated, it could mean that their basic needs are being neglected consistently.
Similar to the above, the elderly may not get all of the food and nutrition they need. Maybe workers do not want to deliver food to the room. Maybe they don't want to take residents to the dining area. Perhaps the food itself is not nutritious and so those who eat it every day deal with vitamin deficiencies and other such issues.
4. Pressure sores
These sores happen when the same pressure gets put on the same part of the body for too long. It's often a problem for those who are bedridden or who struggle with mobility. They need to move, shift or roll on schedule to keep these sores — which can be painful and which may get infected — from forming. When the staff does not do it and the patient can't do it alone, it can lead to serious problems.
In some cases, elderly individuals who get neglected may show signs of depression. They could become withdrawn, irritable, tired or angry. This depression may stem from a feeling of isolation since they never see anyone else in the nursing home.
Do you think caregivers have neglected your loved one? If so, make sure you know all of the legal options you and your family have.