Keep Nursing Home Abuse at Bay: Stay Observant of the Nursing Home You Choose

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Posted by Pressley Henningsen

Image of Wheelchair in a hospital

Choosing a nursing home for your loved one can be a difficult task, especially when you hear about cases of nursing home abuse.  You have visited potential facilities and established if they’re on the up-and-up.  You have scoured the Nursing Home Compare website to determine if the homes on your list are up to standard on staffing, inspections, and other quality measures.  You check online for any complaints filed against your candidates.  Finally, you believe you’ve found the best nursing home for your family member or loved one.

What many people fail to realize, however, is that even good nursing homes can experience changes.  Sometimes these changes are for the worse.  It is up to you to stay vigilant for any signs that abuse or neglect may be happening, even if you are certain you picked a good place for your loved one to live.

It Only Takes One Instance or Employee

Although you may have met with the vast majority of the staff at the nursing home, staffing changes do occur.  It is possible that a new hire comes in without your knowledge.  Even if the rest of the staff has been personally vetted by you, this person may not have been.  Sometimes bad things happen when no one else is looking.  It only takes one negligent or abusive person to cause irreparable harm to your loved one.  To make sure that you know everyone who comes into contact with your loved one, check in with the home staff on a regular basis.  See if there is anyone you don’t recognize on the floor or behind the desk and ask them the same questions you asked the other staff.

Keep a Look Out for Changes in Cleanliness

One of the first things to fall by the wayside when a facility is going through changes is how clean the nursing home stays.   When a home is short-staffed, they will not have time to clean as thoroughly as they once did.  Watch for clumps of dirt and hair in corners of rooms and under tables, stains on tables and chairs in the dining area, and other dirty or dusty surfaces.  You may also find that the bathrooms in the nursing home may not have clean sinks, toilets, or shower facilities.

Watch for Unexplained Bruising or Mood Changes Not Explained by Doctors

If you notice any physical or emotional changes in your loved one that cannot be explained by their doctor, be aware that these may be warning signs of mistreatment.  If you notice depression, anger, or other mood changes, speak with your loved one’s doctor.  While these can be common when dealing with Alzheimer’s or other kinds of dementia, your loved one may also be attempting to communicate some type of abuse.

It can be difficult to come to terms with nursing home abuse or neglect.  You can download our Law Guide to Iowa Nursing Home Abuse Claims to learn more about elder abuse.

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