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Address the Risk of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse with Visits

Nursing home and elder abuse is a serious concern in Hollywood and across South Florida. If you have an elderly family member in a care environment in Homestead, Miami, or any community, it’s important to take precautions to ensure they are not a target.

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One of the first steps you can take is to choose caregivers and care facilities carefully. Whether you choose to place your loved one in a nursing home, retirement home, assisted living facility or with a full-time or part-time caregiver, always check backgrounds and references. Seek out recommendations, compare options, and ask lots of questions.

Even with the best due diligence, however, the risk of elder abuse and neglect remains. Even a promising nursing home or caregiver can become a danger over time. Staff turnover or management changes at a nursing home, for example, can mean a less positive environment for residents.

Frequent visits to see a family member in a nursing home or in care can help. Frequent visits can mean your loved one is less vulnerable and less of a target for abusers. Regular contact can also allow you to notice any early signs of neglect or abuse and act on them before the situation escalates. To protect your elderly family member, follow these tips:

1) Make both planned and unexpected visits.

Unexpected visits ensure you can see how residents are treated, even when staff are not necessarily prepared for visitors. Does your family member still have a comfortable room, proper clothing, and good hygiene, no matter when you drop by? A big difference in how your loved one looks can be an early warning sign of neglect.

2) Encourage others to visit.

The more people visit someone in a retirement home or care environment, the more supported a resident can feel. This is good for strong mental health and increases the chances that if anything is amiss someone will notice warning signs.

3) Insist on getting answers for any red flag signs.

The signs of elder abuse and nursing home abuse can be subtle. Red flag warning signs can include:

  • Bed sores
  • Any unexplained injuries
  • Slurred speech or fatigue
  • Poor hygiene or grooming
  • Clothing that is inappropriate for the weather
  • Sudden loss of assets
  • Sudden changes in finances
  • An unexplained worsening of symptoms
  • Weakness
  • Signs of lice or other infestations
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Personality changes
  • Any unexplained changes

If you notice any of these signs or anything else seems wrong, insist on a full investigation and get answers.

4) Trust your instincts.

Sometimes, family members don’t notice a specific sign of abuse or neglect but still have an uncomfortable feeling that something is “off.” Always trust those feelings and act on them. Ask for more details about how a family member is doing. Get them a medical examination. Talk to your family member and ask them if anything is wrong.

5) Make frequent visits and keep communication strong.

Ensure you visit frequently and work on maintaining a strong relationship with the person in a care environment. This can be challenging, especially if your family member has any medical conditions which affect their communication skills,  but good communication and a strong relationship can mean a senior feels comfortable approaching you if someone is harming them.

6) Meet the people who spend time with your family member.

Get to know caregiver, staff members, and other residents who spend time with your family member. They may notice something and talk to you about it.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a nursing home or a care environment anywhere in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation.