The choice to transition an elderly parent, grandparent, or any other vulnerable family member into a nursing home is an incredibly difficult one. You and your family put an enormous amount of faith into the hands of the facility. Unfortunately, nursing homes too often fail to provide high quality care to residents. According to data cited by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), approximately ten percent of seniors have endured some form of serious abuse or neglect at the hands of a caregiver.
Neglect Is a Serious Problem
Nursing home neglect is a serious problem. Not only does it dramatically decrease quality of life, it is dangerous. Neglect is a health hazard to your loved one. It is crucial that families are able to proactively identify and address neglect. In this article, our Georgia nursing home abuse attorney highlights five of the most common warning signs of nursing home neglect that you and your family should be aware of in Georgia.
4 Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
- Unexplained Weight Loss
Nutrition matters. It is absolutely vital for nursing home residents. Unexplained weight loss in patients can be a telltale sign of neglect. Weight loss can arise due to several reasons. Residents in nursing homes often lose weight unexpectedly due to inadequate nutrition, either because they don’t receive enough food, don’t follow a well-considered diet, or don’t eat enough. Dental problems, difficulties swallowing, or other unidentified medical issues can also cause sudden weight loss. If you notice a loved one in a nursing home losing weight, always ensure an immediate follow-up. It could be the warning sign of a serious problem.
- Poor Personal Hygiene
The maintenance of personal hygiene is also of paramount importance for the elderly and other vulnerable nursing home residents. Personal hygiene significantly affects the health and well-being of any person. Nursing home residents often rely on caregivers for activities such as bathing, grooming, and oral care. When these activities are not regularly performed due to neglect, hygiene levels might be led to deteriorate. Telltale signs include unkempt hair, body odor, dirty clothes, and poor dental health. In the long run, neglect in this area can lead to infections, dental problems, and other related health issues.
- Unsanitary Living Conditions
When you enter a nursing home, what does it look like? Is your loved one’s bedroom in good condition? Is the facility clean? The cleanliness and sanitation of the living environment play a pivotal role in the health and safety of nursing home residents. Dirty linens, non-functional bathrooms, accumulation of trash, and the presence of pests can evidence unsanitary living conditions. Such conditions expose residents to a heightened risk of infections, diseases, and various other health complications.
- Mental Health Issues (Changes in Mood, Behavior, etc)
Elderly individuals are more susceptible to mental health issues, and a drastic change in their mood or behavior might be indicative of neglect. Isolation, lack of social interaction, or consistent emotional abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, or signs of regression. Residents can display withdrawal, aggressive behavior, or symptoms of dementia even without a dementia diagnosis. The result is that neglected residents may also show fear or hesitation around specific staff members. Because of this, Authorities should investigate any unexplained mental health changes.
- Bedsores or Other Improperly Addressed Medical Conditions (Major Warning Sign)
Bedsores—or as they are also known, pressure ulcers—are injuries that are caused to the skin and/or underlying tissues due to prolonged pressure being applied to the skin. They are very particularly common among elderly individuals who spend a lot of time in bed or a wheelchair.
The appearance of bedsores is an indication that a resident has not been repositioned frequently enough. In other words, it is, by itself, a sign that your loved one has been neglected by their caregivers. Notably, bed sores can be extremely painful and can lead to severe infections if left untreated. Similarly, medical conditions or symptoms that are consistently overlooked are signals of neglect when left unattended. Proper medical care and routine check-ups are mandatory in nursing homes. Bedsores require immediate attention.
Contact Our Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Georgia nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are compassionate, justice-driven advocates for victims and families. If your elderly parent or vulnerable loved one was subject to neglect in an assisted living facility, please do not hesitate to contact us today to set up a no cost, fully confidential initial consultation. With offices in Atlanta and Augusta, we handle nursing home abuse and neglect claims throughout all of Georgia.