If you have had to make the difficult decision of putting a loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to be well taken care of and be safe. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not meet the duty of care owed to their senior residents and injuries or even death occur. The first thing to know when it comes to nursing home negligence is recognizing that it has occurred. Keep in mind that negligence is not direct harm or abuse. Instead, it includes neglect in performing the full duty of care, failing to provide caregiving needs, or failing to properly supervise the elderly at a nursing home facility. Indeed, these home health care facilities are supposed to ensure the health and safety of this vulnerable population.
Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
While nursing home negligence can sometimes be difficult to detect, there are telltale signs that indicate neglect has occurred. Knowing the signs of neglect can help you better protect your loved one. Signs of nursing home negligence include:
- Physical injuries such as bedsores, burns, scratches, or bruises;
- Deterioration in the person’s health due to lack of sufficient food or hydration;
- Changes in the person’s body odor due to poor hygiene maintenance;
- Nursing home room that is dirty, with unwashed clothes or bedding;
- Change in behavior such as being withdrawn or lack of social contact;
- Problems with sleeping or unusual sleeping patterns.
Many times, as with any case of negligent care, the first indication is a change in the individual’s personality or any type of emotional shift.
Investigating When Negligence is Suspected
There are many ways you can investigate a nursing home facility where your loved one is staying if you suspect that negligence is occurring. First, you should verify that the home health care facility has the correct ratio of patients to staff. If the facility is understaffed, this could be the first indication that negligence is happening. Additionally, determine the type of training that the staff receives and confirm that the training is being properly administered by management. It is also good to ask about and understand the nursing home facility’s hiring procedures and whether background checks are conducted on all new hires. If training is not happening regularly and background checks are not administered, this could be a sign that the facility is cutting corners and neglecting their residents. Other signs of nursing home neglect may include:
- Lack of necessary medical devices or medications;
- Lack of available social activities for residents;
- Dirty rooms, bedding, or clothing at the facility;
- Insufficient social and emotional support services;
Regularly Checking in
Because nursing home neglect may not be obvious, there are several things you can do to ensure your loved one is being cared for properly. This includes:
- Visiting the facility often, and on an irregular schedule – including different shifts and different days — to see how care is being administered;
- Speaking with your loved one often and asking questions about the facility, how they are being treated, and the services provided;
If you determine that senior neglect is occurring at a nursing facility, the best way to get help for your loved one and other elderly residents is to contact the Nevada Area Agency on Aging available through the nation and administered by the United Way.
We Fight Nursing Home Abuse
If you have a loved one in a Nevada nursing home and suspect neglect, the experienced personal injury attorneys at H&P Law will carefully and prepare your case. We will fight for the best possible outcome under Nevada law, based on the facts. Contact us today to schedule our initial case evaluation.