Many factors have fueled an increase in the number of nursing home neglect incidents. A rapidly expanding elderly population might be the biggest one. There are simply so many people who need long-term care that there are not enough facilities to effectively care for them all.
Other factors include understaffing and shifting Medicaid reimbursement policies. Facilities that have overworked employees are breeding grounds for negligence. Furthermore, a few years ago, most Medicaid programs switched to a per-patient reimbursement as opposed to a per-contact reimbursement. So, the nursing home loses money every time staffers look in on residents.
Most nursing home neglect victims have pre-existing conditions which make their serious injuries even worse. Therefore, these victims need substantial compensation, and a Rockford nursing home neglect lawyer works hard to obtain it.
Looking and listening are the two best ways to detect possible nursing home neglect. Some common signs of neglect are discussed below. As for listening, if your loved one verbally reports abuse, always refer these reports to the nursing home administrator. If this person is dismissive or evasive, it might be time to lawyer up.
Pressure ulcers usually develop on bony areas of the body if the resident is not regularly turned over in bed. If not promptly and properly addressed, bedsores quickly become life-threatening.
Bruises and Other Unexplained Injuries
Resident-on-resident violence, which is one of the fastest-growing kinds of nursing home neglect, often causes these injuries. Many older residents are like little children. Petty disputes often become violent. Many residents are so frail that a tiny amount of force could cause a serious injury.
“Accidental” burns are usually not “accidental” in this context. Nursing home residents often burn themselves because no one is watching. If the burn seems more serious than it should be, it’s probably because no one immediately tended to the injury.
Dehydration and Malnutrition
It’s hard to believe that these conditions are problematic. But they are. When people get older, their senses degrade. So, food doesn’t look, smell, or taste good. Unless someone ensures that residents eat and drink, they often lose weight or have other malnutrition/dehydration symptoms.
Insomnia and Sleep Loss
Trouble sleeping is almost a sure sign of nursing home neglect. Improper medication often disrupts a person’s sleep-wake cycle. Traumatic memories, such as recalling a neglect or abuse episode, frequently cause sleepless nights. Once an elderly person’s sleep schedule is knocked awry, it takes a long time for it to reset. In the meantime, the possible consequences are harsh.
New or Untreated Medical Conditions
Almost all nursing home residents have pre-existing injuries or illnesses. Otherwise, they probably would not be in a care facility. A diagnosis is not an issue. But if a resident is getting worse instead of better or suddenly develops an unrelated medical problem, these things are nursing home neglect red flags.
Personal Hygiene Issues
Many residents must be reminded to take care of personal hygiene matters, like brushing their teeth. Others need at least occasional help performing these tasks. Either way, personal hygiene lapses often indicate nursing home neglect.
Count on a Thorough Winnebago County Attorney
Always watch for signs of nursing home neglect and always assume that reports of neglect are at least partially true. For a free consultation with a nursing home neglect attorney in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone LTD. Home, virtual, and after-hours visits are available.