When a person places their elderly or disabled loved one in a nursing home, they are trying to ensure they receive the best care, which means they must take reasonable steps to ensure the nursing home is providing quality care to their loved one. This also means keeping an eye out for any warning signs of abuse or neglect at the facility.
Placing an elderly or disabled loved one in a nursing home is a huge act of trust: you want the best care and quality of life for them. The first care plan meeting lays out the steps you believe the nursing home will take to meet their needs, nutrition, and medical concerns. Yet the most carefully prepared plans may go wrong. Families need to keep an eye out for warning signs of abuse or neglect at the facility.
If you see any warning signs of your loved one’s abuse or neglect, they are often an indication of a developing or bigger problem.
Common Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
A nursing home resident needs their loved ones to be observant of any of the common warning signs of abuse or neglect. These include the following:
- Bed Sores or Pressure Ulcers -These maladies can develop due to inattentive or inadequate staff who fail to turn bedbound residents.
- Changes in Mood or Behavior -Many nursing home residents do not inform their loved ones of abuse or neglect, often due to fear, shame or mental infirmity. Loved ones should watch for sudden behavioral changes, including emotional withdrawal, depression or angry outbursts.
- Unexplained Marks, Bruises or Cuts -These can be signs of restraints or other abuse.
- Sudden Weight Loss – This can be due to poor nutrition, illness or psychological harm.
- Silence Around Caretakers – This is a common sign of abuse, since residents may fear repercussions for informing a visitor of the abuse.
- Unexplained Infections, Diseases or Injuries – Any unexplained injury to a nursing home resident is cause for alarm. It may also be a sign of a nursing home attempting to hide abuse or neglect. About 6,000 Illinois nursing home residents a year who were hospitalized had sepsis, a bloodstream infection that can quickly turn fatal if not if not cared for properly. About 1 in 5 didn’t survive.
Responding to Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
When you note any signs of abuse or neglect at your loved one’s nursing home, keep a log with dates, times, what you observed or heard, and names of staff. Visit frequently, if you can, and try to vary the times of day that you go. Consider placing a camera in the room, which Illinois law now allows.
Don’t hesitate to take action immediately by elevating your grievance to the supervisor. Especially when the nursing home is not offering good explanations for what you’ve observed, you should contact the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on their hotline for abuse or neglect claims. And if your loved one has suffered a serious injury, you will need a top-notch nursing home injury attorney by your side.
Nursing home injury cases require a great deal of knowledge, experience and expertise. Unlike the typical personal injury or medical malpractice case, the opposing side is not just represented by an insurance company but often multiple adjusters who monitor the case and trial. The cases can be complicated and lengthy, lasting several years. Due to these challenges, it is critical to evaluate a nursing home injury accurately at the beginning.
Contact Parker & Parker if You See the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you know of or suspect nursing home abuse or neglect suffered by your loved one, contact Parker & Parker to discuss legal options. To schedule an attorney consultation, contact us today at 309-673-0069 or complete our online intake form.