June 19 , 2015 | Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Placing a loved one in a nursing home is never easy. Entrusting the care of a parent or family member into the hands of strangers, however well-qualified, is challenging.
When you do move loved ones into one of Southeast Wisconsin’s long-term care facilities, you have a right to expect their needs will be met and they will be treated with dignity and respect. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Nursing home abuse and neglect are more common than many people realize. Each year, more than 2 million cases of elder abuse are reported. It is critical for families to be aware of the warning signs, and to take the right steps to protect their loves ones.
Here are seven signs that may indicate elder abuse:
- Falls: Has your loved one fallen at the nursing home? While falls are not 100 percent preventable, many are caused by neglect. A chief cause of falls is understaffing.
- Poorly fitting clothing: If your loved one has lost weight and his or her clothes aren’t fitting well anymore, this can be a sign of malnourishment. Consider calling the doctor to ask whether there is a medical reason your parent or relative is losing so much weight.
- Bruises: Bruises can be a sign of neglect or abuse. Ask your loved one and the caretakers about this and do not be afraid to take your investigation further if your gut feeling tells you something isn’t right.
- Bed sores: Bed sores can be caused by neglect, often related to understaffing. Bed sores are often preventable.
- Broken bones: This can be a sign of serious neglect or abuse. Seek answers.
- Increased confusion or “loopy-ness”: Is your loved one being overmedicated? Have you noticed dizziness, depression or just a general sense of being loopy? Ask the doctor which medications are causing this and why? Are these medications necessary?
- Silence: If your loved one will not speak to you about his or her care in front of the caregivers, this is a strong sign that something is wrong.
When you suspect something is not quite right with your loved one’s care, act on these feelings. Remain alert and dig deeper. Follow up with the caregivers and the doctor(s). If you are not getting answers you can trust, consider talking to an attorney about further investigating.
Our law office is led by a former registered nurse, and we are happy to sit down with families during free consultations to give them our insight and help them understand their rights and options.
Do not ever hesitate to seek the information and the guidance you need. You are your loved one’s best advocate.