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How to tell if your loved one is being abused or neglected

Nowadays, nursing home abuse and neglect seems to be reported more than ever in the media. In some cases, we hear about residents being denied access to basic hygiene or being restricting from moving. In other cases, we hear about facilities not being properly maintained.

If you know what signs of neglect or abuse to look for, then it's possible for you to put a stop to it before it seriously injures your loved one or takes his or her life.

All states have standards on the books that hold nursing homes accountable for providing both a clean and safe environment in which their residents can live.

If, when visiting your loved one, you consistently find him or her laying in bed with dirty bed sheets or clothing, then the individual runs the risk of developing bedsores. If you notice your loved one's kitchen or bathroom are unclean, it's only a matter of time before he or she comes down with some type of environmental or bacterial illness.

A loved one that appears to never have one's hair combed, has lengthy nails, bad breath or an unfresh, scent may not be getting the attention he or she deserves. It may also serve as a sign that the nursing home is understaffed or that the staff isn't properly trained in basic health care.

Another common sign that your loved one may be neglected by nursing home staff is if he or she appears to be dehydrated or malnourished. Some federal statistics show that 20 percent of nursing home residents suffer from malnutrition worldwide.

Like bedsores and other illnesses, malnutrition may be indicative of inadequate staff to resident ratios. Undiagnosed medical problems such as swallowing difficulties and depression may also be underlying their malnourished state.

Unexplained injuries, decreased resident mobility, and a worsening psychological state are additional reasons to suspect that your loved one may be ill treated at a nursing home.

If you suspect that your loved is or was treated poorly by staff, you may wish to first report your suspicions to the facility's administration and then the state or federal licensing authorities. Alternatively, you may contact a Tucson nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to guide you in deciding what's the best option to pursue in your case.

Source: Next Avenue, "6 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect," accessed Oct. 27, 2017

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