As our loved ones grow older, they deserve, more than ever, a dignified and full life that rewards all the work and sacrifice they offered us when they were younger. Many times, due to the lifestyle in the United States, it is difficult for the family to take care of an elder, and the only way to offer wellness is to entrust the elder’s care to a nursing home. At a nursing home, an elder is supposed to have the ability to share activities with people of their same age, make new friends and receive attention from specialized personnel.
Unfortunately, some of these centers hire unprincipled people who provide a questionable service and in some cases even threaten the physical and emotional integrity of those who have been placed in their care.
If you suspect that your family member is or has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you need proof. Pay attention and make note if you detect the following signs:
Visible marks on the body
Bruises, pressure marks, scabs, burns or scars may not be the result of an accident but a result of beatings and physical abuse in the nursing home, which would represent a serious fact that should not be overlooked. If these marks also appear near the breasts or in the genital area, they could even be indications of sexual abuse, which is why it is crucial that you contact a lawyer immediately if you detect this type of injury.
While it is painful to talk about these issues, it is important to understand that it is even worse to ignore them or allow them to continue happening by remaining silent. It is necessary to take measures and resort to professionals who handle these cases with the seriousness they deserve.
Abandonment of daily activities or unusual depression
Does your loved one not want to watch his favorite show anymore? Did he suddenly stop playing cards or dominoes? Does he not talk to friends anymore? Does he have nightmares? Is his mood no longer the same as always? These changes can have several causes, and one of them could be verbal or emotional abuse, either by the staff of the nursing home or other patients.
Your loved one not only deserves physical well being but also peace and tranquility. In any of these situations, it is the duty of the nursing home to ensure the emotional health of the elderly and to respond to breaches in the law of this important responsibility.
Decubitus ulcers or bed sores
It is healthy and advisable for seniors to change their position every so often while lying in bed. It is even better if they can walk or perform some type of physical activity, however modest this may be. If your loved one has pressure ulcers or bed sores, it is very clear that he spends too much time lying in the same position in his bed or sitting in the same chair. Such a situation is considered gross negligence on the part of the staff of the nursing home.
Unmet medical needs
The ailments of old age (arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, heart problems, muscle pain, digestive problems, among many others) require the elderly to do things differently than the average population, such as taking more medications that require following a schedule and receiving controlled doses, and in many cases, maintaining a restricted diet.
It is therefore vital that the nursing home staff offers constant monitoring to ensure that the elderly receive their medications at the indicated time in the amounts prescribed by the doctor and that only allowed foods are served. The breach of this duty constitutes a great risk to the health and even the life of your loved one, for which it is necessary to take action on the matter immediately.
When a person reaches a certain age, he may not be able to take a bath, wash, change clothes or change sheets on his own, or he may not remember to do it every day. Maybe he cannot take care of cleaning the room, taking out the garbage or cleaning the toilet. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the staff of a nursing home to ensure the hygiene of the elderly, helping with daily cleaning periodically and constantly and changing the sheets of their bed regularly.
If your loved one has lice or nits, fungus, grime and/or bad smell, bedbugs or fleas, he does not wear clean clothes every day, or perhaps the place where he sleeps look dirty and neglected, the nursing home is not fulfilling its work, and it is your duty to take action through a lawyer.
Sudden weight loss
Seniors who live in nursing homes may suffer a loss of appetite due to the deterioration of their digestive system or also because of the loss of the brain faculties that manage memory and feelings of hunger. On the other hand, an elder’s digestive system may have difficulty processing some foods. It is very common for the elderly to be prohibited from eating certain foods by their doctor, and instead they must compensate for nutrients and vitamins through supplements or other permitted foods. For this reason, it is essential that the staff of the nursing home monitors the food intake of the elderly very closely, making sure to provide three meals a day that are balanced with the necessary nutrients to ensure a healthy weight and proper body function.
It is also important to closely observe the environment and the behavior of the elderly since a depressive or anxiety-filled mindset could result in eating disorders, and at the same time could be a wake-up call about possible physical or psychological abuse. If you notice a sudden loss of weight in your loved one during their stay in a nursing home, it is important to pay attention to all the factors that could be causing it. If you discover that the nursing home has failed in its duties, a lawyer can guide you in the steps to follow to keep the nursing home accountable.
If your loved one is in any of these situations, remember that you and your family are not alone. At P&M Law, our bilingual staff is ready to fight on behalf of your nursing home abuse case and help you get the justice you deserve. Call us at 832-844-6428 OR text our attorneys directly at 832-438-3012.