As a form of abuse, neglect can be very subtle and hard to spot, especially if you’re not able to visit your loved one more than once or twice a week. Unfortunately, signs of neglect often go unnoticed, and can compound into much worse problems. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for and do if you suspect or know that your loved one is the victim of neglect in a nursing home.
What To Look For
First, even if the nursing home is a very good one and you trust the staff, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of neglect. Neglect can happen as a result of staff shortages, staff’s lack of knowledge of the resident’s daily routine, or insufficient nursing home policies. No matter what, there can be some clear signs that your loved one is being neglected, such as:
- Lack of hygiene like dirty clothes, hair, or signs that they have not been bathed regularly
- Unkempt or dirty living areas, overflowing trash, unswept floors, excessive dust, dirty sheets, etc.
- A decline in abilities such as walking, talking, eating, using the bathroom, or socializing
- Unexplained injuries
- Delayed response to bell/calling for staff, or no response
- Over or under medicating
- Changes in demeanor/attitude/personality
- Dehydration and unexplained weight loss
What To Do
If you notice that your loved one is being neglected in any way, it is best to first bring it to the attention of the nursing home management. They may be able to explain the unexplained injury, attend to some of the cleanliness issues, and address the other issues with staff to make changes in care.
You also have the recourse of contacting your ombudsman (find out how here). However, if you notice this has done little or nothing to change conditions, it may be time to take further action. You can review our post outlining how to know if you should simply file a complaint versus hire a legal representative here. But, essentially, filing an official complaint would be the next step, or, if conditions are rapidly worsening, you will want to contact a lawyer immediately.
Gharibian Law offers a free consultation that will help you determine what type of case your case is, as well as next steps. Call Gharibian Law (866-456-0256) for peace of mind, and the best in elder abuse and neglect legal representation.