In part one of this two part series, we discussed the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect in nursing homes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Also, part one discussed how to research a specific nursing home prior to visiting a loved one. In part two, below, we will discuss two important things to look for during your visit.
During Your Visit: What to Look For
When spending time with a loved one who is in a nursing home or other long term care facility, there are two things you can look for: evidence of injury and changes in demeanor.
Evidence of Physical Injury
If you have any reason to suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, conduct your own physical examination of arms, legs, head, back, etc. Look for signs of injury such as bruises, scratches or other marks. If you see any, ask the staff members about them and take pictures of them. Also, it is important to note that abusers often take steps to hide injuries. Does your loved one always have a blanket over their legs when you come to visit?
Neglect comes in many forms: medical neglect (failure to provide proper treatment, medications, etc.) and physical neglect. If your loved one is bed-ridden, make sure to check for pressure sores or ulcers, commonly known as bed sores. They occur when an immobile individual is not moved for long periods of time and can become infected. Infected bed sores can become life threatening in a matter of hours.
Changes in Demeanor (Physical or Emotional)
One of the most common indicators that a nursing home resident is being abused is a sudden change in physical or emotional demeanor. Someone who is being physically or sexually abused will exhibit involuntary physical reactions to touch or closeness. Does your loved one flinch when approached? Does your loved one suddenly act differently in front of specific individuals?
It is also very important to keep the lines of communication open between your loved one’s primary care doctors. If you notice anything unusual, you should contact your loved one’s doctors and discuss your concerns. Most of the time, primary care or family doctors have no affiliation with nursing homes, so you often get an honest opinion about the level of care your loved one is receiving at the nursing home.
Lastly, it is important to trust your gut. If you have a nagging feeling that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, don’t ignore your own intuition. Take action.
If your loved one was injured due to abuse or neglect at a nursing home, please call our injury lawyers for a free consultation. Our firm specializes in nursing home injury cases. (215) 985-0777
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