When you have a family member in a nursing home, you are entrusting that nursing home to care for your loved one to the best of their ability and to ensure your relative is safe in their care. A person goes into a nursing home with the understanding that the facility will care for their needs and treat them with respect. If the nursing home causes harm to a patient, either in the form of abuse or negligence, that facility can be held liable and a lawsuit can be filed against the nursing home. Learn more about the warning signs of neglect or abuse in this article, as well as what you can do about it.
Watch for warning signs
When your loved one is in a nursing home, you want to be watchful for any red flags that can indicate there is a problem. Make a note of all injuries, including bruises and scratches. While elderly people can be more prone to such injuries, seeing them on a regular basis should be taken as a red flag. Also, many bruises and/or cuts, or ones that occur on a regular basis should be taken as a sign that there may be abuse going on.
You also want to watch for bed sores if your loved one isn't independently mobile. People who are confined to a bed need to be treated in a way that prevents bed sores. They are to be turned in the bed often which will take the pressure off areas of their body, so bed sores don't develop. These sores can be a good indication that the patient is not being turned often enough and there may be neglect issues.
Your loved one should be kept clean. They should have a bed that is free of things like urine, feces, old food crumbs, and other dirt that can lead to health problems such as infections, rashes, etc.
What to do if you suspect neglect or abuse
If you aren't sure as to whether or not there is an issue, then you can contact the ombudsman who covers the area your loved one's facility is in. An ombudsman is an impartial and independent party who works for free and who investigates complaints to see if there is an issue. You also want to have your loved one transferred to another facility. You will want to contact a personal injury lawyer if you come to the conclusion that there is abuse or neglect. The lawyer can tell you if you have a case and handle the case for you.