It is important to monitor your loved one when they are in a nursing home. If you suspect that they are being abused or neglected in the home, there are certain signs to look for. Your loved one may have developed bedsores, or show signs of malnutrition or dehydration, that continue to worsen.
Common Nursing Home Problems
The most common problems encountered by victims of nursing homes neglect and abuse are:
Also known as bedsores and pressure sores can usually be prevented by frequently turning the patient and using higher quality mattresses with overlays. If these simple steps are not taken, Decubitus ulcers will typically develop at the heels, the backs of knees, the buttocks, and other bony parts of the body.
Decubitus ulcers begin as a red sore on the skin. If left untreated, the sore breaks the skin. Over time, if proper steps are not taken, the wound increases in size and in-depth. Eventually, the wound becomes so deep that it may reach down to the bone and become infected. When this happens and antibiotics do not work, amputation may be the only means of saving the patient's life at this point. If sepsis (blood poisoning) develops and reaches an advanced stage, however, even amputation may not help and the patient dies.
Falls are another common problem encountered by the elderly in nursing homes. In some cases, patients may not properly be secured into wheelchairs and fall or slip out. Patients are also left in their beds without rails to protect them, or the staff may negligently attempt to move a resident without sufficient help. When left unattended by the staff, these patients fall, often receiving lacerations, abrasions, bone fractures, disfigurement, and even head injuries.
Malnutrition & Dehydration
Malnutrition and dehydration slows down healing and can worsen existing health problems. Over time, malnutrition and dehydration lead to severe complications and may result in the death of the patient. In some cases, patients with special dietary requirements are deprived of the nutrition they need to survive. In other cases, patients who have lost the ability to feed themselves are left with food in front of them but no one to help them reach it.
Physical abuse is a reality for some patients in nursing homes. Patients are sometimes slapped, punched, or kicked. Some patients are even forced to endure sexual assault by staff or other patients.
Whether your loved one has suffered from one of these common types of injuries or has suffered from any of the many other injuries that can result from neglect and abuse, you may feel betrayed and angry. If your loved one is still at the nursing home, you may also have grave concerns about future treatment at the nursing home. These are real feelings and legitimate concerns.
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