Anyone who goes into a nursing home—whether voluntarily for a short-term stay, or involuntarily out of need—deserves to be treated well and be well cared for as if they were living with family. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case when your loved one is in a Charleston, WV nursing home facility.
Nursing homes have a duty of care and a responsibility to their residents, as well as their relatives and loved ones. Cost-cutting, understaffing and other factors sometimes come together and result in a reduced standard of care that may leave residents neglected.
Occasionally, staff may intentionally neglect a resident for various reasons. While there is no excuse for neglecting someone who can’t care for themselves, a resident may not be able to speak for themselves, or fear for their safety if they do. That’s when your loved one needs your help, and a Charleston, WV nursing home neglect attorney.
Signs Of Neglect
Some of the most common symptoms are also signs of abuse. They include:
- Weight gain or loss, from improper or inadequate nutrition and/or dehydration
- Broken bones and/or concussions, when no staffer is available, and the resident tries to walk, bathe, or do something else without help and experiences a fall or other accident
- Personal hygiene issues, also from lack of adequate staffing.
- Unsanitary conditions, such as bathroom facilities, bedding, clothing, and kitchen areas. Neglecting sanitation can lead to serious health issues in a nursing home resident
- Mobility issues and/or loss—most nursing homes work with residents to keep them somewhat physically active, to keep what ability they have. Residents who are left in beds for long periods of time not only risk losing their mobility, but are also at risk of infections and bedsores as well.
Other indications of neglect and/or abuse include:
- Unexplained bruising and/or lacerations, when a resident tries to do help themselves without help
- Wounds and scars from previous injuries
- Unexplained behavioral changes, such as depression or isolation
The Centers for Disease Control reports that every year, about 1800 nursing home residents die from falls every year in the US. These residents have two to three falls a year, and those who survive their falls can become permanently disabled. While not all of these falls are neglect-related, the CDC advises nursing homes to take preventative measures like staff training, installing grab bars, and evaluating medications and their affect on balance and mobility.
Also called “bed sores,” these painful skin abscesses are a preventable, direct result of bed-bound patients who are not turned properly. Elders are particularly at risk when they have a smaller amount of body fat than someone not bed-bound.
These sores develop when, after left in one position, the bone bears down on a specific part of the body, wearing through the skin. Excess moisture can speed the degradation of skin and development of these sores. The skin breaks, ruptures or tears, leaving an open sore that is prone to infection.
Bed-bound individuals need to be turned every two hours to prevent these sores from occurring, and have sufficient nutrition and hydration to keep their skin from thinning. Extra cushioning can be added to bedding, chairs and wheelchairs to reduce and/or eliminate the pressure off the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Staff who are not trained in the prevention of bedsores may not realize the need to turn patients and neglect to do so.
Nursing Home Neglect Is Serious
Even without hiring an attorney, it’s important as a relative or friend to pay attention to your loved one’s needs while they are in a nursing home. You should always be aware of the conditions and how your loved one is being treated. Pay attention to the cleanliness and sanitation of the facility. Are the basic needs of food, hygiene and medical care being met?
If your loved one has a sudden change of attitude, or becomes unsociable, even around friends and relatives, it may be more than just the change of scenery. Residents who are routinely ignored, left alone or otherwise isolated may become withdrawn or otherwise unhappy.
If your loved one is increasingly not doing well, it may be time to ask questions, and review how he or she is being treated while in the nursing facility.
Protecting Charleston’s Most Vulnerable
Your loved one may not be able to speak for themselves, so they need your help. You have a two-year time frame to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. If your loved one has been neglected by a nursing home, don’t wait. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation. We’ve helped thousands of West Virginians fight for their loved ones in nursing homes, and we’re ready to fight for your loved one.