Thousands of Alabamians move into nursing homes later in life. They often do this to receive extra assistance with daily tasks. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the help they need.
Nursing home neglect occurs when staff members fail to meet residents’ needs. Because nursing home residents are old and sometimes frail, it may be hard for them to speak up if they’re experiencing neglect. Therefore, it’s important to protect them by looking out for warning signs of nursing home neglect.
Physical signs of neglect may be the easiest to spot. They may include:
- Weight loss: This could signal that your loved one hasn’t been given food or assistance to the cafeteria.
- Poor hygiene: This may include bad odor, unbrushed teeth, greasy hair or dirty clothes.
- Sickness: If your loved one’s hygiene and nutrition is being neglected, this can lead to sickness.
- Bedsores: If staff members are leaving your loved one in bed for extended periods of time, they may develop bedsores.
- Injuries: Look for bruises, cut and scratches. If your loved one injured him or herself, it could signal that they aren’t receiving the help needed during their daily routine. If an employee accidentally harmed them, the employee could have been rushing through their routine.
- Sleep loss: It may be hard for your loved one to rest when their other needs haven’t been met throughout the day.
Mental and emotional signs
Nursing home neglect doesn’t only leave physical damage – it often affects mental health, too. Changes in your loved one’s mental and emotional health might include:
- Isolation: This might mean your loved one stops communicating with friends and family, or stops partaking in nursing home activities and meals.
- Loss of trust: If your loved one doesn’t want certain staff members taking care of them, those members may not be treating them appropriately.
- Anxiety or depression: This may include excessive irritability, restlessness or a lack of interest in activities that usually bring them joy.
If you notice one of these signs, don’t panic. There are many possible explanations for them. These are indicators of neglect – not proof. Speak with your loved one if possible, and express your concerns to nursing home administrators.
If your suspicions of neglect continue, you should find a new home for your loved one – and consider contacting an attorney with a background in nursing home neglect.