For al living things, aging is inevitable, as are the perils that come with it. We start as infants, requiring constant supervision and help with nearly everything. As we grow and age into adulthood, we become supremely self-reliant, and while it’s nice to have a companion, there are few tasks most adults can’t do on their own.
The next stage after adulthood is senior living; or the golden years. Many seniors say their golden years are some of the best of their life. That may be true, but at a certain age, we begin to break down, at least physically. Senior ailments are all over the spectrum and could be physical, financial or familial. Because of these issues, millions of seniors live out their remaining years in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and many do so without receiving proper care.
Negligence in long-term care facilities is well-documented but is still a common occurrence. As a concerned resident, friend, or family member, what signs can you look for to identify possible negligence?
Signs that point to negligent care
First, it’s critical to understand that a lack of care can be carried out by an individual or an administration.
- Negative changes to patients’ emotions and physical body: If you go to visit your loved one and they exhibit any of the following changes, you are cause for concern.
- A quick and sharp decline in their physical well-being (sudden weight loss or dehydration are the primary identifiers)
- Uncommunicative and withdrawn behavior
- Displays fearful and angry reactions
- Unexplainable bruises, cuts or pressure ulcers on their upper back, hips or thighs
- If long-term care staff (nurses, orderly’s or administration) are evasive, unable to or dismiss your questions and concerns.
- High or an over-worked staff: Many long-term care facilities face staff shortages, but that shouldn’t impede the quality of care that the residents receive. Keep an eye on the attitudes of the staff when you visit your loved one. Also, is the director often absent? This is a bad sign.
- Be wary of any staff member that your loved on shies away from. This is usually a sign of neglect or abuse.
- Trust your intuition.
If you have a bad feeling about the care your mother or father is receiving, address it, and don’t forget about the power of professional guidance. Letting these issues fall by the wayside may only lead to further harm. If the issue turns out to be a false alarm, that’s okay because it was properly addressed.