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4 Signs of nursing home neglect

| Jan 10, 2015 | Personal Injury

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately one in three residents of nursing homes in the United States suffer neglect. In Illinois, inspections occur every 15 months or less, but a U.S. General Accountability Office study showed that investigations run by the state consistently missed actual harm and immediate dangers to residents, leading experts to speculate that neglect and abuse may occur much more often.

While not all neglect is intentional, it is present when a facility does not provide the care and services an elderly individual requires to have freedom from pain. Staffing issues such as high turnover, burnout and a lack of training are often the source of nursing home neglect. When hazardous situations cause harm or anxiety, the nursing home is violating federal guidelines. A nursing home lawyer Chicago knows that the elderly often display symptoms that may indicate neglect.

  • 1.       Behavior changes

A loved one may begin demonstrating emotional distress, including agitation or withdrawal, when there is an issue with a staff member or other individual. In some cases, intimidation or an inability to communicate may keep the resident from confiding in a family member. Depression or feelings of hopelessness often result from negligence and abuse.

  • 2.       Pressure ulcers

When a resident who does not have sufficient mobility is not turned or shifted in the bed or wheelchair at regular intervals, pressure ulcers develop. Any nursing home lawyer in Chicago is aware that these are most likely to appear on the pelvis or hips, as well as knees, elbows, heels and the back of the head. Medication and poor nutrition add to the risk of these sores, as well as making recovery more difficult.

  • 3.       Weight loss

Some weight loss is not unusual, especially in the first month or two after moving into a nursing home. If a resident displays evidence red, swollen gums, loss of appetite or dry or thinning hair, these could be warning signs of malnutrition. Nutrition should include adequate protein sources and sufficient fluids for proper hydration.

  • 4.       Medication changes

A sudden or unexplained change in medication may indicate that a resident is suffering neglect. When a doctor does not do a thorough examination before writing a prescription, it can cause serious health issues. Changing medications can lead to dangerous side effects such as dizziness, which often causes falls in the elderly and increases the risk of serious injuries and even fatalities.

A family member who is able to visit an elderly loved one frequently may be able to discover neglect and prevent problems from developing further. If a hazardous situation is suspected, 911 should be called immediately. According to the Administration on Aging, involving a nursing home lawyer in Chicago is one way to hold Illinois nursing home facilities accountable for harm resulting from neglect or abuse.