Difference Between Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
Common Causes of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect mainly comes down to the quality of care within the nursing home. Understaffing is a top cause for nursing home negligence. Not having enough staff to be able to care for and check on patients as well as keep the facility clean can lead to poor living conditions, patient injuries, illnesses, or even death. Nurses are often overworked and may miss health issues of a patient while rushing through their time with them. They may also take short cuts when it comes to patient care, including not following proper fall prevention procedures, which may lead to an injury. Understaffing may also lead to improper training of nurses, which can lead to inadequate care for patients as well.
5 Ways You Can Prevent Nursing Home Negligence
When placing your loved one in a nursing home, you may have feelings of helplessness because you cannot provide for their specific needs and must rely on nursing home or assisted living care. However, just because they are not living with you does not mean you cannot look out for their well-being. Here are five ways you can prevent nursing home abuse and neglect…
- Utilize advanced planning – Before entering the nursing home, record detailed wishes of the resident if they are ever unable to express them. Examples of this would be health care proxies, living wills or any religious objections to medical treatment.
- Visit as often as possible – While life seems to frequently get in the way, visiting your loved one and asking about their care will help prevent neglect and abuse. If you cannot visit, a simple phone call is a good way to check on your loved one.
- During your visits, keep a journal – Keep a log of your visits and record any illnesses or injuries to look back on, if necessary.
- Discuss the nursing home’s fall prevention procedure – Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in adults over the age of 65. Discuss the fall prevention plan set in place by the nursing home and inform your loved one’s nurse of any of their habits that could help them care for him or her.
- Request weekly reports of your loved one’s health – Speak with your family member’s nurse or manager and request weekly reports of any injuries, illnesses, or check-ups.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect
If you suspect nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse, there are a variety of steps you can take to stop the behavior. Record observations of any injuries of your loved one or changes in their behavior. Take photos, if possible, of any signs of lacerations, bruising, inadequate skincare, etc. Next, speak with a manager at the nursing home or assisted living facility. Express your concerns of neglect or abuse. If their response is unsatisfactory, you may want to report the abuse to Adult Protective Services. The final step would be to contact a nursing home neglect lawyer who will be able to further explain the actions to take to represent your loved one against the facility in a potential nursing home lawsuit.
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