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How to Recognize the Signs of Neglect of Patients in Nursing Homes

First Posted: Aug 09, 2021 07:49 PM EDT
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How to Recognize the Signs of Neglect of Patients in Nursing Homes

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When a friend, loved one, or relative reaches a state in life where they can no longer care for themselves, this can be a heartbreaking experience.

You've watched your loved one's life grow alongside your own life, and you've probably shared many wonderful experiences together. This makes it all the more difficult to come to terms with one of life's guarantees: the limitations of old age.

Beyond the conditions that life presents to us as we get older, we all have to understand that sometimes we can't care for our loved ones in the most beneficial way possible. When this becomes evident, you may have to rely on assisted care or nursing facilities.

While most nursing and assisted care facilities do perform adequate care, some also are known for neglecting patients, and sometimes this results in a wrongful death. While pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can assist you with compensation and closure, there are signs of neglect that you should watch out for in order to avoid this tragedy.

Here, we'll explore a few telltale signs of neglect found in nursing and assisted care facilities.

Bedsores

Bedsores, otherwise known as pressure ulcers, form when an area of the body isn't receiving proper blood flow. This is largely considered a huge sign or neglect in elderly patients, and often occurs in bedridden or wheelchair-bound patients. Additionally, bedsores are largely considered the most preventable condition found in nursing homes or assisted care facilities.

A bedsore forms when the weight of a patient's body is continually pressing against an area of the body, commonly bony areas such as the ankles, hips, tailbone, or back of the head.

If a bedsore forms and is left unattended, these can progress through stages, and can ultimately result in surgery or can cause death if they become infected and untreatable.

Frequent Bruises

One of the more telltale signs of neglect and abuse by nursing home or assisted living staff is frequent bruising.

When a care provider handles a patient, he or she must do so with care. An elderly person's skin and muscle tissue is much more tender than a younger individual. As such, grabbing too firmly can result in "finger bruises" that might be evident along the arms, legs, or even the torso.

If you begin to notice frequent bruising whenever you visit your loved one, you should bring this to the attention of the management staff or the nursing home ombudsman. If the condition persists and you notice more bruising on subsequent visits, then it's time to contact your local authorities and seek legal counsel.

Overmedication

Depending on the ailment that your friend, loved one, or relative has, some medications may be required in order to treat the condition. Sometimes medications prescribed might include the use of narcotics, sedatives, or other neuro-suppressors such as Diazepam.

Most of the time, medications are administered by physicians, whereas in some cases this task may be handled by a nursing staff.

Upon visiting, if you continue to notice that your friend, loved one, or relative seems to be incoherent or otherwise overly sedated, this is something that you must take note of as this can also affect mental health. In some nursing and assisted care facilities, sedatives are used indiscriminately in order to keep patients docile and immobile.

Though this practice is not only unethical, and in many cases, illegal, this is something that persists at care facilities.

Once again, if you notice that a patient is visibly incoherent or unresponsive during a visit, you'll need to inform management and alert the local authorities to the development of this issue.

We all want our elderly loved ones to be cared for in any setting. No matter their age or condition, living in a care facility can be difficult enough after you've lived an entire life independent from assistance.

If you suspect or notice any of the aforementioned conditions, it is up to you to pursue the proper course of action and ensure that your patient receives proper care.

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