Your elderly loved ones are some of the most vulnerable people in your life. When you entrust an assisted living facility or nursing home to care for an elderly family member, you expect them to give him the kindness he deserves. This is true especially when you consider the cost of a nursing home facility in Hawaii. One year in a semi-private room costs almost $120,000.
According to the American Health Care Association, approximately half of U.S. Citizens will be nursing home residents at some point in their lives. This means that nearly everyone will put his or her faith in an assisted living facility or nursing home to care for an elderly loved one or friend.
Large franchises own over half of the nursing homes in the nation. Two-thirds of the nation’s nursing homes are being operated as ‘for-profit’ businesses.
Although there are state and federal regulations (Nursing Home Reform Act of 1986) put into place to protect nursing home residents, the unthinkable still occurs. These gross violations compromise the well-being, health and dignity of some of this nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
Many times nursing homes have insufficient staff that is poorly trained which can lead to:
- Residents being victimized by staff members and/or other residents
- Fraudulent activity
- Theft from residents
- Residents suffering with malnutrition
- Resident mistreatment and abuse
- Inadequate medical care
- A lack of social services
Many times the abuse or neglect of nursing home residents occur with no intervention. Due to medical complications such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, detecting abuse can be challenging.
Those patients who are not suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s may not report abuse or neglect because they fear the retaliation they may encounter or they may not want to burden their loved ones.
The 3 Types of Neglect Found in Nursing Homes
1. Personal Hygiene
When an individual’s personal hygiene is neglected, illness and/or infection can set in.
Personal hygiene includes:
- Oral hygiene
- Clean and comfortable clothing
2. Basic Needs
If a resident’s basic needs are not met, he could suffer dehydration, malnutrition and other serious injuries.
Basic needs include:
- A safe environment
3. Medical Neglect
If an individual is neglected medically, his overall health may decline.
Medical neglect includes:
- Over medicating
- Under medicating
- Withholding medical treatment for an injury or condition
Common Signs of Abuse or Neglect
Neglect of nursing home residents is frequently overlooked, which many times results in the decline of an individual’s general health and can eventually lead to death. This problem occurs everywhere and takes on many different shapes. When loved ones do not know what to look for, abuse and neglect can remain hidden for extensive periods of time. There are numerous signs that you can look for to determine whether your loved one is being abused or neglected.
The signs to look for include:
- Open wounds
- Bed Sores
- Physical restraints
- Unkempt appearance
- Soiled bed sheets, clothing or a dirty room
- Clogged breathing tubes
- Unexplained bleeding and/or visible injuries
- Malnutrition/weight loss
- Broken bones, fractures
- Unexplained behavior changes
- Staff refuses unsupervised visitation
- Loss of your loved one’s possessions and/or unexplained bank activity
- Sudden changes in his financial documents
- Emotional withdrawal
- Sudden agitation
If your loved one’s caretaker is unable to sufficiently explain reasons for his condition, you may want to meet with an attorney to explore your options.
If your loved one is in a nursing home resident and shows any of the signs listed above, you need to contact an experienced nursing home attorney. You can help give your loved one back his dignity and make the conditions safer for the other residents in the facility.