When your loved one reaches the point where they need constant care to maintain their safety, health, and quality of life, you may look into nursing homes. While placing your loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision, they will have access to doctors, nurses, and advanced medical care in a community that’s meant to help them thrive. However, some nursing homes do not provide the top level of care their residents need. Sometimes, they aren’t able to provide that care because they do not have enough people, or the skill to do so. When this happens, abuse and negligence can occur.
A nursing home that doesn’t have safety protocols, precautions, and skilled and attentive staff may cause harm to their residents. No senior deserves this. If your loved one has suffered because of a negligent nursing home, Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can help. Our Glen Burnie nursing home abuse lawyer will fight for your loved one’s rights to fair compensation.
Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse Harms Health
Those in nursing homes likely need regular medical attention—like receiving medication. When there isn’t enough staff to administer medication, some residents may miss doses, which can be a major detriment to their health. If they are given the wrong dose or wrong medication entirely, their lives could be put in danger. An allergic reaction to the wrong drug could be deadly.
Mobility is another issue with nursing home residents. Some may be in a bed or wheelchair for most of the day. If they are left in one spot for too long, they can develop pressure sores. Also known as bed sores, pressure sores can be painful and become infected.
As most seniors have weakened immune systems, infections and illnesses can take a bigger toll on their health than a healthy 30 year old adult. Infections can occur if a resident is hurt and doesn’t get treatment in a timely manner. Illnesses can spread if the nursing home doesn’t regularly sanitize and have procedures to deal with illnesses prevention.
The examples above often deal with the nursing home not having the amount of people needed to properly adhere to all the responsibilities of a nursing home—this is typically considered negligence. However, abuse is different and happens with intent.
Abuse can take many forms. One of the most common is physical. Shoving, grabbing, hitting, or handling too roughly are all forms of physical abuse. They can cause injuries and also make the resident feel afraid and withdrawn. This can come from those who are supposed to take care of your loved one but can also come from other residents. Resident-on-resident abuse does happen but is unfortunately not studied as much as abuse coming from the nursing home. If another resident is harming your loved one, the nursing home should take measures to handle this situation.
Another form of abuse is emotional and psychological. When staff insults their residents, uses harsh or inappropriate language, and always demeans them, they are putting down your loved one and can cause a serious decline in self-esteem. Other tactics include keeping a resident away from other social activities, which isolates them and makes them an easier target. Seniors need to maintain a sense of community and social engagement—it brings a valuable experience to their day and they feel like they’re among friends. It’s also important for mental health. A staff member who excludes your loved one from these activities is making your loved one’s quality of life decline.
Financial exploitation can occur with seniors who have memory issues. Often, those who are in nursing homes may have considerable amount of money from a lifetime of working and saving. A staff member could take advantage of their condition and take money out of accounts, have the resident sign checks, or change ownership on important papers like deeds. If you notice anything off about your loved one’s financial matters, see a lawyer immediately.
Staff members who force the resident to be a part of any sexual interaction is committing sexual abuse. Nursing home residents may have difficulty communicating and cannot inform others of a predatory staff member. There’s also the unfortunate aspect that your loved one may feel ashamed of what’s happened. If you notice drastic changes in demeanor, if your loved one develops an STD, or has injuries around their private areas, they may be a victim of sexual abuse.
Red Flags in a Nursing Home
When getting a feel for your loved one’s nursing home, look out for these signs that could suggest this isn’t the best place for them:
- Residents are in soiled clothing, bed sheets, or have an odor from lack of bathing.
- Dirty rooms and common areas
- Don’t have a protocol for entering and exiting the building
- Lack of nutritious meals
- Residents or residents’ families have complained about treatment
- You notice injuries on your loved one that no one can explain
These are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re at your loved one’s nursing home. Visiting during uncommon hours could give you a better idea of what the home is like. Speaking with as many people as possible can also provide insight to the home.
If your loved one has been abused, you need to get them to a safe place as soon as possible. Maryland’s Adult Protective Services can help you. Then, you can begin to take legal action.
Hold Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable
Our lawyers help families stand up for their loved one’s rights. It’s not okay for nursing homes to subject their residents to abuse and neglect. We’re here to hold them accountable and show them they cannot continue to treat residents like this. We’ll fight for your loved one to receive financial recovery for their losses.
To get started on your case, call our office today for a free consultation. We’re here for the citizens of Glen Burnie. Our lawyers will help you find the best way to defend your loved one.