Monday, October 14, 2013

How to Protect Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

By Alan Brady, Freelance Writer

You should not have to worry about abuse to your loved one while they are in a nursing home—you should be able to have the guarantee that the nursing home provides you with their care, and their commitment. But more recently, there have been more cases on nursing home abuse, and people exploiting those that are incapable of defending themselves. By choosing the right nursing home, means choosing the well-being of your loved one.

There are warning signs and things to look for when choosing a nursing home, as well as the warning signs on your loved one if you suspect that abuse may be taking place. If you do know that elderly abuse is taking place, don’t hesitate and hire a nursing home abuse attorney immediately; discuss the legal compensation that can take place for you and your loved one—and of course, from keeping it from happening again.

Besides the warning signs listed below, you should take the necessary steps to avoid this situation. Visit often. Take note of the other patients—do they seem happy, and well groomed? Are other rooms in the facility kept up with? By taking notice of the surroundings, you’ll have a better idea of what may be taking place.

Warning Signs on Your Loved One
Sometimes, a patient can’t speak for themselves if abuse has been taking place; especially if your loved one has been diagnosed with a memory disorder like dementia. Because of this, you have to be their eyes and ears, and be attentive to anything odd that you may notice.

• Bed sores
• Bruises
• Broken Bones
• Cuts
• Scars

When you notice physical signs of abuse, get down to the bottom of it. Ask the attending nurse and the staff supervisor. They may be embarrassed to tell you if something just accidentally went wrong—but you still have the right to know of anything that has happened to your loved one. If they do not answer your questions or dodge the real truth, follow your gut in seeking help.

• Not taking enough food or water
• Failure to bath or change clothes
• Your loved one has suddenly gone quiet and distant
• Your loved one has major weight changes

Signs of neglect may be harder to find and see than the physical symptoms. Look for any odors in the bathroom or the bed, check if the bedroom and bathroom are well maintained, as well as the grooming of your loved one. If there are any weird situations that arise when checking up on these things, then don’t be afraid to confront the attending nurse.

What to Do Next
If you see the signs, and follow your gut feeling, then there are actions you need to go forward with to protect your loved one. Discuss your concerns with the staff supervisor, and let them know what you’ve seen and what you feel is happening (neglect). Contact the local police department where the abuse has occurred, and finally, hire an attorney.

By taking control of the situation, and being attentive and diligent when coming to visit your loved one, you can avoid horrible circumstances like these. The last thing you want to worry about is the fact that your loved one may not be getting the best possible care that you have asked for. Be aware, and be protective.

Alan Brady is a freelance writer who has taken care of his grandfather for much of the past five years.

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