Nursing homes are becoming more of a necessity as the general population continues to age. Many families find it difficult to keep up with the care demands that their elderly loved ones may require. In these cases, they will often turn to nursing homes for help.
If this is the route that you choose, you expect that your loved one is going to be treated with love and respect. And in most cases, nursing homes are able to provide for all of their needs with the conscientiousness and care that you would expect.
However, once in awhile you may come across a facility that, knowingly or unknowingly, has hired someone that would do deliberate harm to the patients under his or her care. They may cause physical or emotional harm to your loved one.
Regular Check Ups
When you put a loved one into a nursing home, you will want to check up on them as regularly as possible. Not only does this allow them to still feel connected to the family, it will allow you to make sure that they are receiving adequate care. If not, you will want to take all the actions needed to remove them as soon as possible and press charges against those who are responsible for the abuse.
When you go to visit your loved one, there are specific signs that can lead you to suspect abuse.
Here are Some Things to Watch Out For:
- One thing to watch for is new scars or wounds that were not there when you first brought your loved one to the nursing home. These can come from a variety of sources, and may be indicative of abuse.
- As you age, your skin thins out and becomes easier to damage. Bruises and scars can form if the elderly are not handled gently by their caregivers.
- Falls can be particularly dangerous for the elderly. If your loved one needs assistance in sitting up, even routine activities can become dangerous if they are not properly supervised. Failing eyesight can make getting around difficult, especially if walkways are not kept clear and dry.
- Some elderly patients may need restraints to keep them from falling or wandering into an unsafe situation. However, if these restraints are applied too tightly, they can cause ligature marks on sensitive skin.
- Rough handling is another cause of injury to the elderly. If your nursing home is shorthanded, or if the staff is impatient, they may handle patients roughly in an effort to speed things along. This can cause pain and bruising to the patients.
- For bed-ridden patients, neglect is often a risk. Pressure sores can happen if they are not properly turned throughout the day.
- Another sign of abuse may not be as readily visible. Emotional abuse leaves no physical scars, but can cause the patient to become anxious or depressed. They may refuse to eat and drink, or will no longer participate in activities that they once enjoyed.
Every time you visit your loved one in the nursing home, be aware of how they act. Listen to complaints that they may have and take them seriously. In a worst case scenario, if you are concerned that abuse may be occurring, report it to the proper authorities and remove your loved one from the situation as soon as possible.