Understanding Nursing Home Neglect
Our nation's elderly were once healthy, active adults who worked hard to earn a living and to raise their own families. While senior citizens may be from a very different generation than us, they were once young, thriving adults who contributed to our society in more ways than one. As people age, they often dread the one day that they will need to go into a nursing home, but for many adults who can no longer care for themselves, this is the best place for them to be, or so we assume.
Although the elderly are technically adults, some of those that are in nursing homes and long-term living facilities are better compared to children because they can no longer physically care for themselves. Sadly, because of their diminished physical or mental capacity, it also leaves them more vulnerable to neglect and abuse in the same way that young children are vulnerable to mistreatment, malnourishment and abuse by their own parents or caregivers.
Recognizing Signs of Neglect in Tampa, FL
Nursing home neglect occurs when a nursing home resident is improperly cared for by the nursing home facility and its caregivers. Thanks to advances in medical technology, Americans are living longer than in generations past, and as a result many of the nation's nursing homes are at full capacity. Due to undertrained staff and staff shortages, and sometimes due to facilities cutting corners, a percentage of nursing home residents wind up being abused, neglected or heavily sedated to make things easier on the staff and this morally wrong. There are obvious signs of neglect that you can look for and it's important to always keep an open mind and be vigilant when you visit your loved one. Potential red flags to look out for include:
- A dirty or foul smelling room;
- Your loved one appears to have poor hygiene;
- Your loved one looks as if they haven't bathed in a long time;
- The room smells of urine or feces;
- Your loved one has bed sores;
- A sudden weight loss (could be signs of improper nourishment);
- Your loved one is left alone for long periods of time (emotional abuse or neglect);
- The nursing home resident appears unreasonably lethargic or catatonic (signs of over-drugging); and
- Your loved one isn't receiving necessary medical attention.
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing home residents have designated rights to prevent abuse and neglect. The Act states that a nursing home "must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care". When these rights are violated, legal actions can be taken against the facility, including filing a personal injury claim for damages. Nursing home neglect can lead to injuries, declining health and even death.
Protecting the Rights of Elderly Victims in Tampa, FL
Nursing home residents need proper medical attention when they are ill. This includes correctly diagnosing the illness, as well as providing the right medication in correct doses. When a patient's medical care is neglected, it can result in life-threatening consequences and even death. It is extremely important to take action as soon as you suspect that nursing home neglect is taking place, and a failure to do so may result in a devastating outcome. You can watch out for nursing home abuse and neglect by visiting frequently and by varying your visits to different times of the day. You should also be on the lookout for warning signs like bruises, weight loss, bedsores and recurring illnesses.
Nursing home neglect is the silent killer in nursing homes throughout the United States, and federal investigators say that "false charting" is a common practice because many facilities are understaffed. Whatever the specific cause for the neglect may be, the Tampa personal injury lawyers at our firm will aggressively pursue cases involving medical neglect and seek to recover damages for any injuries and losses.
View our firm's profile at FindaNursingHomeAbuseLawyer.com.