Most nursing homes welcome families and their elderly loved ones with a warm, comforting smile. Though an initial visit to a nursing home may leave an individual and his or her family feeling as if it is a safe place for a loved one to stay, the truth may in fact be the exact opposite.

In one recently filed lawsuit, for example, the family of a deceased woman claims the nursing home where the deceased was staying was understaffed, ultimately causing her death. The lawsuit claims the victim was found unresponsive and gurgling, but was failed to be immediately transferred to the emergency room. In fact, 30 minutes passed between the time the woman was found in a dire condition and when an ambulance service was contacted. It was also discovered that a significant amount of time had passed where the victim was not monitored.

Unfortunately, incidences like this happen more often than many people care to think. Perhaps the scariest aspect of these situations is that they are preventable, yet nursing home residents and their families have no clue as to dangerous nursing home conditions.

Therefore, families should be vigilant in ensuring their loved ones are treated appropriately. The best way to do this is to look for signs of bedsores, rapid weight loss, and unexplained bruising, as these may be signs of nursing home neglect, a nursing home fall, or nursing home abuse.

If any of these signs manifest, victims and their families may want to take legal action. A successful lawsuit not only allows the victim to recover compensation for his or her injuries, which may include medical expenses and pain and suffering, but it also holds negligent nursing home professionals accountable for failing to care for their residents.

Source: The Telegraph, “Nursing home accused of patient neglect,” Sanford Schmidt, April 23, 2014