Nursing homes are meant to keep their residents happy, healthy, and (above all) safe. Unfortunately, there are still instances every year where nursing home residents fall into abusive situations involving staff members. If you ever suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused at their nursing home, being vigilant, knowledgeable, and legally prepared for the fight ahead is critical. To help you during this difficult time, here are four serious signs of nursing home neglect that you should be aware of:
1. A Dirty, Unkempt Facility
Whether it’s unclean floors, hazards in walkways or a lack of personal hygiene present among multiple staff members, a dirty nursing home is a huge red flag. To keep nursing home residents safe, and to ensure they are protected from avoidable diseases or falls, a facility needs to be kept hyper-clean, and free of all hazards. In many ways, this is the top priority of many of the home’s staff, so if they are failing to uphold this responsibility, the potential of other abuses or cut corners being present is much higher. Before going straight to the home’s director to complain, if you find these unacceptable traits present, be sure to talk to your loved one who’s a resident first. Many residents who are abused will want to know someone is on their side, and if you know for sure abuse is occurring, you can begin contacting nursing home abuse attorneys to help you get the situation resolved.
2. Sudden Antisocial Behavior
Have you ever noticed a friend or loved one that’s normally hyper-personable suddenly become dour and anti-social? This is never a good sign and signifies that something is likely up. In nursing homes, sudden antisocial behavior is a common sign of mental abuse happening behind the scenes. If you notice that your loved one is becoming quiet or particularly off around any specific staff members (or staff as a whole), you should immediately find a safe space to talk to them in. Make sure there is no possibility of eavesdroppers if you find yourself in this situation, however. Be sure to approach the situation in a soft, compassionate fashion, as this will help your elderly loved one open up to you more effectively. If you feel that you can trust the nursing home director after this talk, you should confront them about the situation before talking to any other staff.
3. Exorbitant Gift Giving
Given that nursing home residents and staff members become close over time, it’s not abnormal for a resident to occasionally give a staff member as a sign of their appreciation for their hard work. However, if you ever notice a loved one suddenly becoming exorbitant with their gift giving, this could be a possible sign of financial abuse or coercion happening behind the scenes. This can be a much more difficult situation to ascertain, so approach conversations with your loved one about gift giving with extra care. If you feel it’s appropriate, you might reach out to the staff member directly as well. Once again, however, the home’s director is often the best employee to reach out to. In some cases, this may just be an instance where a resident is not making responsible financial decisions, but in some rarer cases, a staff member could be pressuring a resident into giving them gifts (which they will then often sell to make extra money on the side).
4. Unexplained Injuries or Death
The most serious sign of potential nursing home abuse, unexplained injuries, or deaths among a home’s residents should always be immediately investigated. If a tragedy does occur, there should be an explanation as soon as possible, otherwise, suspicion can arise. In these tragic cases, you should get a nursing home abuse lawyer on your side quickly, as they can help you navigate this difficult situation effectively. Trying to do so on your own can be emotionally exhausting, and legally perilous, after all. By being responsible in the way you approach any investigation or inquiries about an unexplained death or injury in a nursing home, you can feel more certain that you’ll find the answers you deserve.
Your Loved One Should Always Feel Safe in their Nursing Home
Elderly people are much more susceptible to abuse, especially when they are nursing home residents. By watching out for their best interests, and always staying aware of any potential signs of abuse, you can protect them from a tragic situation. In any case, where you suspect abuse may be happening behind the scenes, you need to contact a trusted legal professional ASAP.