Acting fast is one of the best ways to prevent further harm. Please review this information and do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions. I offer free and confidential nursing home case evaluations.
Failing to receive the necessary nutrition is often a big sign that a nursing home resident may be in an unsafe environment where they are likely to be subjected to neglect and/or abuse.
Residents failing to get their proper medication or receiving medication that is not safe to take together can be a sign that the facility is not implementing proper procedures regarding the administration of medication to residents – a core function of any responsible skilled nursing facility.
These skin injuries often result from neglect. If a person is susceptible to getting bed sores, i.e., they are immobile, then a responsible facility will have a process and procedure in place to ensure 1. the person gets the proper care to decrease the likelihood of sustaining a bed sore, and 2. that if a bed sore occurs, it is immediately assessed by an appropriate professional that can implement the appropriate treatment plan to resolve the issue.
Nursing homes should be free from unsanitary conditions. If residents are getting infections that is a sign that they are potentially in an unclean and unsafe environment.
Suspicious and Unexplained Injuries
This is a big red flag. Any injury sustained by a resident should be explained to the resident’s family immediately and in detail. If the story doesn’t make sense, your loved one provides you different information, or it was not immediately communicated to you – that could indicate there is a serious problem with neglect and or abuse.
Nursing home residents should not choke on their food. Their abilities to eat should be understood by all the staff and they should be monitored while eating. A choking incident indicates a lack of supervision and neglect.
Nursing homes should have plans in place for residents that are assessed as a fall risk. Procedures should be implemented to ensure the likelihood of them falling is significantly reduced. If a resident is falling often, that is a sign of neglect or abuse (i.e., they are being physically assaulted, and the facility is claiming it is due to frequent falls).
Escape from the Facility
No resident in a nursing home or memory care facility should escape. There should be sufficient staff to monitor their movement and adequate safeguards in place to ensure they cannot leave. Even one escape from a facility is a sign that the facility is neglecting their responsibilities.
Hesitation to Discuss Injuries or Talk in Front of Staff
This is one of the biggest red flags for nursing home abuse. If your loved one is not willing to speak to you or others in front of staff or discuss their injuries – you must investigate further.
A resident that dies unexpectedly is a sign of potential neglect. It may be due to natural causes but any unexpected death at a nursing home should be promptly investigated.
Unexplained Lacerations and/or Bruises
This is another sign and huge red flag for nursing home abuse. Good nursing homes should explain any injury that one of their patients sustains. If they are unable to explain how, why, when, where the patient sustained an injury, bruise, or laceration, that is a sign of neglect.
All patients have the right to be free from unnecessary and unreasonable restraints in a nursing home. This includes chemical restraints. Overly medicating patients is often a substituted for supervision and structures which is a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect that should be immediately addressed.
Injuries from Other Patients
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to ensure patients and residents that pose a risk to others are either properly supervised or removed from the facility/community. It is not normal for one patient to attack others. Such an incident indicates a lack of supervision and administration of the facility.
Resident’s Needs Frequently Overlooked
If you or your loved one’s needs are frequently overlooked, that is a serious problem. Sometimes nursing home neglect starts slowly and seems insignificant but if even small oversights are left unaddressed the situation can become worse and ultimately a very bad outcome can result.
Delays Reporting Injury to Family
If the facility where your family member is currently being cared for does not promptly report any injury or harm to you, that may be a sign of abuse or neglect. Typically, nursing homes and assisted living facilities maintain rules regarding reporting injuries and harm to family members. If the facility does not follow their own rules regarding those reports, that is strong evidence that negligence or abuse may have been a factor in the injury or harm. Following up to determine why there was a delay and documenting the delay and any response is very important.