Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect

| Jul 8, 2020 | Personal Injury Law |

If you have a loved one in an Alabama nursing home, the uncertainty of the recent health pandemic may have been cause for concern. Not only did you carry the worry that your loved one would become ill, but the unprecedented events may have prevented you from visiting your loved one as often or as closely as you would have liked. Unfortunately, for many nursing home residents, this left them in the hands of overworked and frustrated staff members.

Most nursing homes offer high-quality care from compassionate employees. Nevertheless, you may have suspicions about the care your loved one is receiving. It is always a good idea to be proactive and watchful for signs that someone on the nursing home staff may be abusing your loved one or neglecting his or her care.

What to look for

Nursing home residents should expect the staff to treat them with kindness, respect and dignity. Living in a nursing home does not deprive your loved one of any basic human rights.

Sadly, some staff members do not have the proper training, support or personality to handle the sometimes-frustrating demands of caring for the elderly and infirm. When this happens, they may take their frustration out on the residents.

You have every right to suspect abuse or neglect if you see any of these signs:

  • Sudden confusion, drowsiness or disorientation that may be a sign of overmedication
  • Dry mouth, weakness, low urine output or other signs of dehydration
  • Weight loss or other signs of malnutrition
  • Untreated bed sores or other wounds or frequent infections
  • Changes in personality, such as sudden agitation, anxiety, withdrawn behavior, or fear that may indicate emotional abuse or bullying
  • Unexplained incontinence, immobility or poor hygiene, which may be the result of a lack of assistance with basic care
  • Bruises, broken bones, scratches or other unexplained injuries that point to lack of supervision or even rough handling or physical abuse

It may be unthinkable that a nursing home employee would have such disregard for your loved one, and you may even have difficulty wrapping your mind around it. However, dismissing the signs may be dangerous for your loved one.

Further, if someone on the staff is causing harm to your loved one, the same may be happening to other residents. Taking action may be an important step in protecting those residents and holding abusive or neglectful staff members responsible for their behavior.