Having an older loved one admitted into a care facility is never an easy decision to make. Rumors of nursing home neglect and abuse only make the decision that much more difficult. While incidences of abuse are relatively rare, they do happen and it’s important to know the signs. If you suspect someone is mistreating your older loved one, it’s important to contact our elder abuse lawyers in Los Angeles as soon as possible.
- A Sudden Lack of Personal Hygiene
A common red flag for identifying nursing home neglect is a lack of personal hygiene. If the facility is short-staffed or there’s some other reason for a lower level of care, one of the first things that may suffer is hygiene on behalf of the residents. This is because staff members are no longer helping the residents bathe, dress themselves, trim their nails, etc. While this may not be enough for you to run out and consult a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, you should at least bring your concerns to the attention of facility managers.
- Examine Their Living Quarters
Another indication of neglect is the presentation of your elder’s one’s living quarters. As elder abuse lawyers will point out, federal law mandates that nursing homes must provide safe, sanitary, and comfortable living conditions for each resident. Leaking pipes, stained carpets, or unrepaired utilities are all indications that your loved one’s needs are being neglected.
- Poor Nutrition
While this isn’t something you can see, you will be able to observe the effects of poor nutrition. For instance, sudden or severe weight loss is an obvious sign that your loved one isn’t eating properly. Also watch for signs of dehydration. For instance, does your elder seem especially thirsty during your visits? If you suspect your elder is either malnourished or dehydrated, contact our elder abuse lawyers in Los Angeles as soon as possible. This type of neglect, in itself, can have immediate and negative effects on the elder’s health.
- Loss of Mobility
Another factor that should draw your attention and urge you to contact elder abuse lawyers is the mobility of your loved one. Nursing homes are required to provide physical activities for their residents and special exercises should be arranged for handicapped or disabled residents. A lack of physical exercise can cause advanced degradation of muscles and loss of bone density, resulting in decreased mobility and flexibility. Indications of a lack of physical activity are bedsores and infections.
- Injuries That are Insufficiently Explained
If physical abuse is taking place, the elder may develop injuries that go unexplained. In other cases, staff may offer an explanation, but one that seems suspicious. Where you see broken bones, bruises, or head injuries, you should investigate the matter further. Be wary of repeated injuries, as these can be the result of either abuse or neglect.
- Psychological and Behavioral Changes
If your elder suddenly behaves differently, that may be reason enough to suspect something isn’t right at the facility. For instance, they may seem fearful of staff members or may have stopped socializing in common areas. These changes can indicate an issue with aggressive staff members or bullying from other residents.
We trust nursing homes to care for our elders, when we can no longer do it ourselves. This is why they must be worthy of our trust and take their commitment seriously. If you suspect your loved one is being victimized by staff or has been neglected, contact a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. A legal advocate can help you discover what has happened and can help you prevent your elder from suffering further.