Unfortunately, the abuse of our elders is becoming increasingly common. Especially as more nursing homes take advantage of government and medical resources to open their doors. Medical professionals cannot address the concerns of their patients and overwhelmed staff will often ignore or miss the signs of nursing home abuse entirely.
A nursing home or assisted living facility is required to provide a safe, clean and caring environment for those that are there. When that environment is not safe, patients must be moved to a facility that will meet their care needs. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of elderly individuals entering these facilities each month in the United States, it is rare that a facility ever considers themselves “unfit” for their patients.
Abuse vs. Neglect
Nursing homes that are inadequately staffed often cannot provide adequate care to their patients. However, it is important that you understand the clear differences between neglect and abuse – especially if you are contacting the police or filing a claim. Nursing home abuse is an intentional act, often criminal, and entails direct harm to the patient.
Nursing home neglect, on the other hand, is a failure to provide adequate care. This could include not providing medication, not helping a patient move around, or not keeping patients clean. Unlike abuse, neglect is not always intentional. When a facility is understaffed, they find it difficult to meet the needs of each individual resident, sometimes leading to gross neglect – which can lead to a host of medical issues for residents.
Common Types of Nursing Home Injuries
Both abuse and neglect cases see certain injuries that are more common than others. If you are a loved one of a nursing home resident, you should be on the lookout for these common red flag injuries and report your suspicions to the local authorities. If you feel your loved one is in immediate danger, remove them from the facility or contact 911. Some common injuries include:
- Bedsores – These are most common in neglect cases. Also known as pressure sores, they can happen easily any time a patient is immobilized. If left untreated, bedsores can lead to infection and life-threatening conditions.
- Malnutrition – This is a condition that is caused by receiving improper or inadequate nutrients from food. It can be an improper diet or a failure on the part of the staff to ensure that patients who cannot feed themselves actually eat. This is why it is critical that nursing home staff are trained in the dietary needs of their patients.
- Dehydration – As a person’s body is deprived of water, they can face life-threatening consequences. Nursing home staffs are required to ensure their patients receive adequate water each day, and order IV fluids for those that appear to be dehydrated.
- Poor Hygiene – This is typically a result of neglect and poor care. On a daily basis, staff members are supposed to make sure their patients are bathed, their teeth are brushed, their hair is kept, and their rooms are clean. When the rooms are left unsanitary, patients can develop sores, infections, and other medical complications.
- Infections – Infections are common in nursing home neglect cases as well. Patients often have infections that are highly preventable and, with improper care, these infections can spread until they become life-threatening.
- Broken Bones and Bruises – These typically occur during abuse cases. A caregiver may twist arms, beat or strike their patients, or even strap them to their beds. They usually do so to intimidate, and will sometimes even threaten the patient’s life to ensure that they do not tell family members about the abuse.
Do You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, let the attorneys at Van Sant Law, LLC assist you. We understand how difficult it is to see your loved one suffering, and we are here to help. Contact our attorneys at 770-886-9199 and let us hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Please also feel free to contact us online, and an Atlanta attorney will be in touch with you shortly.