7 Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home negligence and abuse affect 30 percent of care facilities nationwide, and cause as many as 5,000 deaths annually. Although this means the statistics favor appropriate care, the pain of abuse is very real for its victims.
Abuse and neglect happen for a variety of reasons. Some are the fault of a facility, while others have an individual staffer to blame. Regardless of why it happens, it’s important to stay vigilant for signs that your family might be suffering abuse or neglect.
1. Inadequate Background Checks
Studies have found that 92 percent of nursing homes employ at least one convicted criminal. Ask management about their backgrounding process. If they can’t discuss it in depth, their background methods may be insufficient.
2. Personality Changes
Although some personality changes are expected in cases like dementia or Alzheimer’s, sudden changes often point to more dangerous causes.
3. Unusual/Inconsistent Diagnosis
If staff reports behavior or other problems your family has never observed, this might be a sign of worsening condition – or an attempt to justify overbilling or use of restraint.
4. Changes in Weight
Rapid weight loss or weight gain often indicates a change in food or medication regimens. Unless you were notified, this can point to neglectful or abusive treatment.
These seemingly minor injuries are a tell-tale sign of nursing home staff not doing their jobs. Proper staffing and attention can almost always prevent them.
As bodies become older, they get more susceptible to injury – but read injury reports carefully for signs of improper care or outright violence. Be especially suspicious of injuries suffered after an elopement or other behavior problem.
7. Dehydration and Malnutrition
Both are signs that adequate sustenance isn’t being provided, or that staff isn’t making certain a patient is eating and drinking enough to be healthy. Like bedsores, this condition is 100 percent preventable with adequate staffing and care.
In Chicago, nursing home abuse is about as common as the nation as a whole. Filing a lawsuit against neglectful or abusive care facilities is one of the most effective ways to hold abusers accountable for their actions.