Why does neglect or abuse occur ? Too many facilities are understaffed, and too few nursing home workers receive the training they need to properly care for senior patients. Those failings increase the odds for maltreatment among nursing home residents.
Whatever the cause, you should be aware of these common signs of nursing home neglect or abuse.
- Bed sores: As many one out of ten nursing home residents suffer from bed sores, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Bedsores most often occur on the hips, back, heels, ankles and elbows. Residents in nursing homes are at high risk for bedsores since they are more likely to remain sedentary for lengthy periods of time. Bedsores are primarily the result of inattention and improper care.
- Medication errors: Many nursing facilities are short-staffed. Mistakes, including ones involving medication, aren’t uncommon by overworked, overwhelmed nursing staff. A typical nursing home resident takes several prescribed medicines each day. The consequences for med errors such as skipping doses or even taking the wrong set of pills can be catastrophic, even fatal, for the resident.
- Intentional overdosing: As noted above, careless errors involving medicines can occur by well-meaning but overworked nurses. However, even more troubling is the frequent use of intentional overdosing in order to subdue what they deem to be disruptive residents. More than 17% of residents in nursing homes throughout the U.S. are given more than the prescribed dosage of antipsychotic drugs each day, according to a 2010 study performed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In California, more than 25% of all nursing home residents are victims of overdosing. In many cases, administrators condone and encourage such unscrupulous activity.
- Dehydration: Dehydration most frequently happens in nursing homes as a result of neglect when staff simply forgets or refuse to provide the resident with enough fluids. Most nursing home residents are not physically able to get their own drinks or even ask for a drink should they experience symptoms of dehydration; thus, wholly dependent on their caregivers. Dehydration can set in very quickly and will most certainly lead to an array of other problems such as ulcers, bedsore, dementia, weakened immune system, pneumonia, electrolyte imbalances and infections.
- Malnutrition: Most nursing homes provide adequate amounts of nutritious foods. However, many elderly residents do not eat the food that is provided for a variety of reasons. Many are prone to appetite loss due to depression or certain types of medications that they’re taking. They may have dental problems which make eating painful or they simply may not be able to feed themselves. It is critical that nursing home staff monitor the eating patterns of residents and provide assistance as needed during meal times. For a frail, elderly person, a few missed meals could prove catastrophic. According to the CMS, hundreds of nursing homes have been cited for improperly cooked and stored food, as well as serving foods cold that should be hot and serving bland, unappetizing food, in general. It’s no wonder residents won’t eat.
- General neglect: This can refer to any number of other incidents of neglect, including not responding to patient requests, not tending to soiled bedding, not changing bandages in a timely manner, etc.
Contact our Orange County Nursing Home Injury Lawyers
Worried about the care your loved one is receiving at a California nursing home? If a loved one has suffered an injury or is not thriving in a nursing home setting, you may be justified in suspecting abuse or neglect. Please contact the personal injury attorneys at the Avrek Law Firm, for guidance.
To receive a free case review, call us toll-free at 1.866-598-5548 or send a secure online message. Avrek Law Firm, serves the victims of nursing home neglect and abuse in Irvine, Orange County, Riverside, and Riverside County.