Many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect continue on simply because friends and loved ones overlook warning signs that indicate that something is wrong. It is important to never overlook these signs, as abuse and neglect can lead to serious personal injury and even to premature death. The red flags of neglect and abuse in nursing homes are :
*Weight Loss. Staff of a nursing home should offer nutritious food and water that helps keep weight steady. For the elderly, sudden weight loss can lead to weakness and an inability to fight off illnesses. Although some medications and conditions can cause weight loss, it is important that staff make every effort to keep weight steady.
*Bruises. Any mark or bruise should be brought to the attention of staff and a full explanation should be offered. An analysis of why the bruise occurred is important. In the elderly, bruising can take a long time to heal. Bruises and marks can also be a sign of inadequate monitoring, of abuse, or of unreported slip and fall accidents.
*Falls. Slip and fall accidents are not a normal part of growing old. In a nursing home, care should be taken that residents are not prone to these sorts of accidents. For the elderly, slip and fall accidents can cause brain injuries, serious hip injuries, spinal cord injuries, and in some cases, can even prove fatal.
*Bedsores. Like falls, bedsores are a clear sign of negligence. Bedsores are red marks on the skin caused by poor nutrition and by prolonged time spent in bed. They are a sign that patients are left unattended for long periods of time. In severe cases, untreated bedsores may become infected or may eat through skin and muscle all the way to the bone. They are painful and completely preventable.
*Restraints. Some nursing homes use restraints to physically not allow an elderly resident full mobility. Homes may use physical restraints or may simply tuck blankets or sheets so tightly around patients that movement is hampered. Heavy sedatives are also sometimes used to keep residents quiet and not as mobile. Restraints show in attention and can be a form of abuse. They can have serious side effects, as well. Physical restraints can cause physical injury and can prevent a resident from indicating when they need help.
*Inattention. When staff are not able to give full attention to each resident – because of overwork or understaffing, in most cases – mistakes can occur. Patients may not be given the right care, mistakes in medication may be made, and patients may not be given the exercise and help they need. Inattention can be fatal, since inattentive staff can overlook signs of serious injury or illness. Inattention can also reduce the quality of life for residents, since residents do not get the attention and care they deserve.
If you notice any of these symptoms, bring it to the attention of the staff of the facility where your loved one is. If you feel that your loved one is being neglected or abused, do not hesitate to act. The sooner you can help, the sooner the abuse will stop. One solution is to contact a qualified Florida attorney. An experienced Florida lawyer will have the expertise needed to stop the abuse.