Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are supposed to provide around-the-clock care to their residents.
Unfortunately, the reality in many nursing homes is far different.
Due to chronic shortages of staff or other reasons, many nursing homes neglect their residents, which can lead to serious injuries – or even death.
The next time you visit a loved one at a long-term care facility, look for the following signs of nursing home neglect.
Notice Physical Changes
Neglect is different from abuse. With abuse, staff intentionally harm your loved one. With neglect, they simply fail to adequately supervise or care for a resident. Like abuse, neglect has some red flags you should be aware of:
- Dramatic and unexplained weight loss
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Unkempt rooms and bathrooms
- Bedsores as a result of failing to reposition residents
- Broken bones or bruises, which might result from falls
- Dehydration or malnutrition
Some of these warning signs might have an innocent explanation. For example, a resident who gets sick can lose weight quickly. However, you should still speak to someone at the nursing home, especially if you notice a drop off in hygiene, which is a classic sign that your loved one has been neglected.
Identify Changes in Mood
Neglect also takes its toll on your loved one emotionally. Note any of the following the next time you visit the nursing home:
- Withdrawn behavior, especially when the resident used to be social
- Fear of talking to other people
- Inability to maintain a conversation
Although all residents can feel a little “blue” now and then, you should treat every sign of neglect seriously—especially when it’s coupled with physical signs of neglect.
Document Medical Neglect
A nursing home should provide adequate and competent medical treatment to your loved one. Indeed, this is often a selling point of nursing homes, and is what allows them to charge such high fees. However, a neglectful nursing home might fail to provide necessary medical care in a timely manner. Note the following:
- Whether your loved one is receiving proper medications on a regular schedule and in the right dosages
- Whether your loved one is being overmedicated as a way to restrain them
- Whether the nursing home has properly treated any cuts, bedsores, infections, or broken bones
- Whether your loved one has picked up an infection or whether infections are widespread in the nursing home
Holding Nursing Homes Accountable
Georgia regulates the state’s nursing homes. Nevertheless, enforcement is spotty, and dangerously understaffed nursing homes continue to slip through the cracks. The only way to force these nursing homes to change is to sue them so they have incentive to provide adequate supervision.
Speak with an Athens, Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing home abuse takes its toll on residents and compromises their health and safety.
At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, our team has sued some of the state’s largest nursing homes, and we have won hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of our nursing home clients. For example, we recently obtained $975,000 for a patient who died after picking up an infection.
To start the process of holding the nursing home accountable, please call 706-354-4000. Initial consultations are confidential and free.