It isn’t always easy for family members and friends of those requiring residency in nursing homes to realize when elder abuse is occurring. Nursing facility management officials are very conscious of potential lawsuits for neglect and often take steps to cover up any negligent activity that is happening within the facility. Many times the victims themselves are also unable to communicate what is happening, or in some cases what is not happening. Abuse and neglect are two separate issues, with one being proactive and the other being a lack of necessary actions that should be fulfilled for proper care of a resident. But before anyone can contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer, they must be able to recognize the subtle signs that there is indeed an issue that should be addressed.
Some of the common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Bed Sores
- Communicable Disease
- Excessive Sleep Patterns
- Use of Unnecessary Restraints
One of the first signs of a lack of proper care for nursing home residents is bed sores on patients who are not mobile. This typically occurs in a skilled nursing facility, but many times an operation will claim to be skilled when the staff is actually substandard and often not properly trained. Even a shortage of certified nurses and aids can be evidence of poor and insufficient attention owed to nursing home residents. Regular turning of immobile patients will prevent bed sores for the most part, and residents who develop worsening injuries can be proven as receiving substandard care from the staff.
Many nursing homes experience sick patients on a regular and sometimes constant basis. The recent Covid health emergency is a prime example of how communicable disease can become anchored in a facility and result in a wave of infections among those who live there out of necessity. These claims can involve records of multiple cases of any disease that other patients have contracted as well as any primary victim. Nursing homes must do everything within their power to keep communicable diseases to an absolute minimum, and lax housekeeping or any other issue can also serve as evidence of an environment that is ripe for a disease outbreak. Details matter in proving nursing home negligence, and sometimes that evidence comes from other patients and residents.
Excessive Sleep Patterns
Another sign of abuse is when patients sleep for a major portion of a day. This is a sure sign of over-medication, which not only can result in personal injury but even death from a drug overdose in extreme cases. In fact, these particular cases can become wrongful death actions in some instances when the overdose can be proven in an autopsy report. Additionally, a drastic change in personality traits or slurring of words when speaking can signal potential over-medication as well as failure to dispense medication when patients are prescribed mood elevators or pain medication for specific medical problems. This failure can include those experiencing mental problems coping with being a nursing home resident. Depression is common among many residents in all homes, and failure to provide prescribed medicines is a form of neglect.
Another issue that may be occurring in a nursing home situation is applying restraints to patients who may still have their mobility and want to move about the home and visit with other residents. The truth is that many nursing facility staff members do not necessarily appreciate the state of the patient with respect to personal freedom, and they often use unnecessary or overly restrictive restraints to keep residents stationary. This is unnecessary and abusive behavior on the part of facility management and staff, with instructions to do so actually coming from superior officials in the home. It is also absolutely unacceptable when a nursing home abuse lawyer can prove it is company policy.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Team
The truth about spotting nursing home abuse is that it often requires an inspection by an experienced personal injury lawyer who can investigate the case and report it to the state oversight agency when a potential problem is occurring. Oversight health agencies do inspect all facilities, but the schedules are announced well in advance and management staff knows when they are coming. This gets avoided when a professional elder abuse attorney steps in, and many times this is what it takes to make things happen practically and legally. If you have a loved one who may be a victim of nursing home abuse, call our offices and let us conduct a full investigation into the potential injury case.