Sponsored by: Joye Law Firm Putting a family member in a nursing home is a tough decision. It can be stressful and emotional as well as a significant financial commitment. With so much at stake, you want to know without a doubt your parent or loved one is receiving the very best care. But you can’t be watching out for them 24/7, so use your regular visits to look for potential problems or signs of elder abuse. Even if you thoroughly vetted the nursing home in your selection process, that doesn’t mean it’s immune from problems. Pay attention to these red flags as they could signal signs of nursing home abuse.
1. Look for signs of physical abuse, such as bruises, bumps or scratches.
One bruise doesn’t necessarily mean abuse. Anyone can bump their leg on an end table. Or your family member might be taking a medication that makes him more prone to bruising. The idea is to look for repeated or serious incidents like broken bones.
2. Pay attention to emotional and social cues.
Is your parent suddenly withdrawn, agitated or unwilling to talk about what’s happening at the nursing home? If they just moved into the nursing home, some emotional changes may simply be part of the adjustment to a new place and routine. Again, the idea is to watch for ongoing issues or problems that linger over a few weeks.
3. Does the mention of a certain staff member cause stress?
Notice if your family member’s behavior changes when a particular staff member comes in the room or is mentioned by name. You’ll want to keep an eye on that staff member and how he or she is treating your loved one.
4. Note high staff turnover.
Unfortunately, staff turnover at nursing homes is fairly common. But if there are new people every week when you visit that may be a sign something is amiss. It also means no one stays long enough to really get to know the residents and their needs. Instead new people are constantly learning the ropes. A revolving door of staff is also unsettling and disconcerting to the residents, especially new ones who may already be overwhelmed with the change.
5. Are staff members always rushed?
Notice if the staff seems constantly overwhelmed and frantic. Are they spending time with the residents or just rushing from room to room? Are they able to respond to a call or alarm in a timely manner? If not, this could be a sign the facility is understaffed. Even if the existing staff members have the best of intentions, they will only be able to do so much. If this seems to be a pattern over weeks or months, there may be an underlying reason the facility is having a tough time hiring or retaining qualified staff.
6. Your concerns go unresolved.
Take note if staff members, including managers and supervisors, are evasive and reluctant to answer your questions. You have every right to inquire about the care of your loved one. Your questions should be answered to your satisfaction. If they aren’t, dig deeper to see if there’s something to hide.
7. Be aware of the signs of malnourishment or dehydration.
If your loved one isn’t eating or drinking, it could be a sign they are stressed. It may also signal they aren’t receiving proper care. What is the meal or snack schedule? Is there easy access to water in their individual room? Be careful not to immediately overreact to a single problem or a one-time issue. But do stay alert and notice long-term or repeated problems. Ultimately, follow your gut. If you feel there’s a problem or something isn’t right, you’re probably onto something. If an issue continues or your concerns aren’t resolved, then you need to look at whether this facility is the right fit for your family member. If your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect at a South Carolina nursing home, turn to experienced attorneys like the team at Joye Law Firm. Since 1968, they have helped injured people recover not just the money they are entitled to, but also their lives. To learn how Joye Law can help you, visit JoyeLawFirm.com or call (843) 507-4959.