You can't be two places at once. This is no doubt one of the reasons you may have hesitated choosing nursing home care for your aging parent. Then again, if he or she has certain medical needs or has suffered mental decline, you may have logically determined that living independently was no longer a viable option. Like most loyal adult children in Arizona, you want what is best for your parent and realized that entrusting his or her care to licensed professionals may be best.
Sadly, nursing home abuse is a problematic issue in this state and most others. If you believe a caregiver has caused your parent to suffer illness or injury, you can take immediate steps to further investigate the matter and seek justice on his or her behalf. To determine whether neglect or abuse has occurred, you first need to know how to recognize the symptoms of substandard nursing home care.
Major red flag signals
Whether you usually stop in to see your parent every day on your way home from work or can only visit once a week or a few times per month, no matter when you pop in, you should feel reasonably comfortable that staff members are taking good care of your loved one. The following issues are common signs of neglect and abuse that are definitely causes for concern:
- If your loved one's clothing or bed linens reek of urine or feces, it may signify that staff members are not properly attending to his or her personal hygiene needs.
- If your parent is in relatively good health but appears to have lost a significant amount of weight, lack of nutrition may be the underlying cause.
- If your parent constantly complains of hunger or thirst, it warrants immediate inquiry.
- Were you alarmed to arrive at your parent's nursing home to find him or her sitting outside, alone? Lack of proper supervision is a leading cause of injury for nursing home residents in Arizona and beyond.
- Any unexplained mark, bruise, laceration, swelling or other abnormal condition is a serious cause for concern. If a staff member offers an explanation that does not sound logical to you, it is always best to inquire further rather than assume everything is okay.
Another sign that someone has possibly abused your parent is if he or she seems stressed, afraid or uncomfortable around a particular staff member. Elderly people may experience mood swings, crankiness or other personality challenges that most people would consider normal parts of aging. However, you know your parent better than anyone, and if something doesn't add up, you have every right to investigate the situation. Doing so may save your parent's life.
After the fact
If your investigation reveals evidence that your mother or father has suffered injury because of substandard nursing home care, you can access local support resources to seek justice on his or her behalf.