What do you do in cases of nursing home neglect?

nursing home abuse | February 7, 2017

There are many excellent elder care and nursing home facilities in Northern Chicago and the nearby suburbs. Unfortunately, sometimes even places with excellent reputations can fail to provide adequate care. In some cases, expansion and growth have left the nursing homes understaffed for their current number of residents. In others, a few aides with bad attitudes or mediocre work ethics can severely impact the level of care certain residents receive.

It’s a difficult decision to put loved ones into nursing home facilities. It can be heartbreaking to realize they aren’t being treated the right way. If you believe your loved one is being neglected, you should speak with a personal injury attorney right away.

Neglect can be benign or malicious

Many of the people who work with the elderly do so out of love and a desire to help. Sometimes, there simply aren’t enough hands to care for everyone who needs it in a facility. For others, working in a nursing home may just be a temporary job, one with high demands and many frustrations. People who provide nursing care can easily get burned out and stop providing care to the best of their abilities. If a caregiver, nurse or aide feels slighted or angered by a resident, he or she could stop providing or begin delaying or otherwise withholding proper care from certain patients for personal reasons.

Failing to check someone bedridden for bowel movements can result in rashes, bed sores and infections. In extreme cases, it can lead to a deterioration of the person’s overall health. Those who are mobile but who use disposable incontinence undergarments may be in a similar situation if they require help to change their soiled clothes.

The signs of neglect aren’t always so obvious

There are some telltale signs of elder abuse and neglect, but they can be easy to overlook. As many as 2.5 million Americans are the victims of elder neglect every year in the United States, and far too many of these cases go unreported. Signs to look for include unexplained bruises, slovenly appearance, a strong, unpleasant odor in the room, greasy or uncombed hair, unwashed bedsheets, unchanged incontinence undergarments, unshaved faces and nursing staff that either are never around or won’t leave you alone with your loved one. You should also listen if your loved one has issues with the care.

If you believe your loved one suffers from neglectful care, you should begin documenting the neglect with photos, video and written notes that include the time, date and issue. You should also speak with an experienced medical malpractice and personal injury attorney while looking for a new nursing facility. An attorney may be able to help you negotiate for a refund of payment. He or she can also help you file a civil suit to hold the facility responsible for their failure to care for your loved one.