Nursing home neglect is a severe problem in North Carolina and across the United States. Residents face neglect due to staff shortages, which is a serious problem for 87 percent of nursing homes nationwide according to the National Institutes of Health. The administrators of many of these facilities cut costs by hiring as few staff as possible, which is to the detriment of the residents. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should be on the watch for signs of neglect.
If you notice any unexplained bruises, cuts or injuries, this is indicative of neglect. Patients may have hurt themselves due to a lack of supervision. Also, severe weight loss, dehydration or malnutrition are also signs that adequate attention is not being given to basic needs.
Poor hygiene is also a sign of nursing home neglect. Signs include dirty clothes, unattended toileting needs, unkempt hair and dental issues. Poor hygiene can lead to critical health problems and a steep decline in overall wellbeing.
Bedsores should never happen, and if they do, this means that care is not being given to prevent skin integrity problems. Patients are not being cleaned and repositioned often enough. Even being left in dirty diapers can cause bedsores and skin breakdown to occur.
Changes in emotional wellbeing
Nursing home neglect can lead to changes in patients’ emotional wellbeing. Signs of emotional distress include sudden changes in behavior, depression or being withdrawn from others. It is up to staff to foster an environment where patients can thrive and feel supported, and falling short of that in any capacity is completely unacceptable.
Failure to follow doctors’ orders concerning patient medications is a serious form of neglect. Patients who do not receive correct medication dosages or who are given the wrong medication can suffer deteriorating health or even death.
Unsanitary living conditions
Patients living in nursing homes are often forced to live in unsanitary conditions because administration and staff cannot be bothered to care. Signs of unsanitary conditions include dirty communal areas, soiled bed linens, a pungent smell of bodily waste, unclean living spaces and inadequate infection control measures.
If you notice any of these signs of neglect, start documenting immediately. Having an abundance of evidence will bolster the success of your case and help your loved one receive justice.