If your aging loved one is in a skilled nursing facility, assisted living community, or dementia care unit, you may sometimes feel powerless to the situation. It is certainly difficult putting the health of your loved one into someone else’s hands, even if it is the best decision you can make at the time.
Most nursing homes give good care, but there can be times when mistakes are made. According to the American Health Care Association, staff turnover in skilled nursing facilities is almost at 50% each year. With new staff coming into the community often, and with some nursing homes understaffed on a regular basis, negligence can happen to even the best intentioned communities.
If you hear the word ‘negligence’ and think of significant injuries like burns or pressure ulcers, you are not alone. However, these cases of gross negligence are not always the best indicators if you believe your loved one is not getting the best care possible. While every senior is unique, and every nursing home is different, here are a few signs of possible nursing home negligence. Keep your eyes and ears open to these signs and seek the relationship-based representation of O’Brien Law to assure that your loved one is safe and engaged in their nursing home.
If your loved one is falling often, be concerned and ask what types of fall prevention plans are in place for the situation. While falls certainly can – and do – happen to seniors living in nursing home communities, repeated falls can indicate that there is an issue with monitoring or assistance.
If you receive calls that your loved one has unexplained injuries, such as skin tears or other abrasions, ask what follow up precautions are planned to keep the injuries from happening again. Be especially vigilant if your loved one has memory loss or judgment issues that are associated with dementia. For these seniors, they are unable to make good decisions on their own; without proper monitoring and engagement from staff members, seniors can end up with injuries that they are unable to recall.
Unresolved Medical Issues
Seniors who are in the hospital for the same medical issue, or who need medical attention for the same medical issue, could be missing out on appropriate preventative or supportive care. Assure that your loved one isn’t suffering from an unresolved medical issue that can be remedied with a medical or intervention plan.
Finally, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease or other form of dementia and is prone to wandering, be wary if you receive a call that your loved one has eloped from the facility. Elopement means that a resident has left the community without knowledge or supervision of the staff members. Elopement can happen within a facility or outside of it. For example, a resident that lives in a dementia care unit can elope even if he just leaves the unit and heads to another part of the facility. Similarly, elopement can also describe a situation when the resident leaves the facility completely. Any case of elopement is serious and could indicate possible negligence on the part of the staff or nursing home.
If your intuition is telling you that something might be wrong at your loved one’s nursing home, give us a call to talk about your concerns in our free consultation. We have years of experience working with families just like yours and are here to help the best we can.