An unfortunate fact is that the most vulnerable in society are often the ones that suffer most at the hands of others. The truth of this is becoming increasingly evident with mounting examples of the mistreatment of nursing home residents. It is something no one wants to think about, but that may be exactly why the mistreatment of nursing home residents is on the rise.
Certainly, you already had a difficult decision to make when you placed your parent in a nursing facility, so to suspect that the staff of that facility is mistreating your parent may be more than you can comprehend. While it may not be actions as vile as physical or sexual assault, a nursing home staff can cause just as much harm through the neglect of its residents.
Common indicators of neglect
About 70 percent of alleged mistreatment in nursing homes in South Carolina and across the country involve neglect. While nursing home administrators often point to understaffing due to a shortage of nurses, this may be of small comfort to you if you recognize in your loved one any of the following signs of neglect:
- Dirty clothes, soiled bed linens, unkempt appearance or body odor, especially urine or feces
- Drowsiness, confusion, unexplained incoherence, which may be signs that the staff is overmedicating your parent
- Muscle contraction or frozen limbs that indicate a lack of physical activity
- Bruises or injuries from falling, which often occurs when patients have to wait too long for assistance when needing to use the rest room
- Sudden weight loss, dry skin, cracked lips and confusion, which may indicate dehydration and malnutrition
- Wandering, which is the cause of injury and death among many nursing home residents, especially those with dementia
- Pressure sores
Pressure sores are among the most avoidable conditions nursing home residents face. A nursing staff can prevent these sores from developing by simply shifting your loved one's position every few hours. Untreated, pressure sores can quickly become infected, leading to amputations and septic shock.
If you notice any of these signs of neglect in your loved one, bring it to the attention of the administration of the facility. You may also wish to contact a legal professional for advice about the best way to protect your parent from future neglect or abuse.