When a loved one enters a nursing home, you trust they will be taken care of. You trust the staff to ensure that your loved one is safe from harm. You also trust that medications, bathing, and other daily living tasks will be handled with care and compassion.
Unfortunately, these things do not always happen. There are several signs you can look for to determine if your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect and that you need a lawyer.
Failure to Contact a Physician
One of the warning signs of neglect or abuse is when there is a medical issue and the physician was not contacted. Though certain incidents can be handled by a registered nurse or the head nurse, there are some incidents that should be reported.
For example, your loved one may have had a night of vomiting and dehydration that is highly abnormal for them. Your loved one may have also experienced a drug allergy that caused illness.
If you find out that medical problems have happened and they were not reported to the doctor, this could be a sign of neglect. Your first step is to find out why the incident was not reported to the doctor. If the nursing home refuses to answer your questions, contact the doctor and have them request a statement on what occurred.
Unrecorded Falls and Incidents
Falls and related incidents happen, but they are usually reported or taken care of in some way. If nothing else, you should be informed of the incident. A red flag of possible neglect is learning that your loved one was injured and you were not told. You may also be told that your loved one slipped and fell when something else actually occurred.
If you believe that neglect is happening and the falls are from that neglect, you can take several steps on your own.
The first step is to take pictures of your loved one’s injuries. Give these to a lawyer who can help determine if the injuries are from a fall. You may also want to find out when and how the fall happened and obtain a copy of the nurse’s report on that fall. If there is no report, let the lawyer know during your consultation.
There are some situations where a nursing home is understaffed and has a large number of residents. This ratio of staff to residents can cause certain neglectful and dangerous acts to occur, such as over-medicating residents. Over-medication is likely when there is a disproportionate staff to resident ratio and one or two nurses are handling medication for an entire resident list.
Common signs of over-medication include lethargy, loss of cognitive function, loss of appetite, and increased time spent sleeping. If you notice these signs with no discernable cause, check for over-medication.
Sudden Rapid Weight Loss
Keep an eye on your loved one’s weight. Rapid weight loss is another sign of neglect from lack of nutrition. This may be due to smaller portions of food, skipped meals, or neglect of dietary needs.
If you believe your loved one isn’t getting enough food, plan a few days to visit on different days of the week. Stay the full day. Note when your loved one is being fed, if they are being fed on time, and what they are being fed. Dietary problems might be the result of a clerical error, but they can also be a sign of neglect.
If you find that your loved one is experiencing any of these signs of nursing home neglect, contact The McDaniel Law Firm. We can evaluate your case, help with questions you may have, and begin the process to help you and your loved one. Bring any proof of the incidents with you to the first consultation.