Neglect far too common in nursing homes

We all want what’s best for our older loved ones, and sometimes as they age they become unable to care for themselves. If we are not equipped to care for them ourselves, often the best decision is to move them into a nursing home or another long-term care facility.

When our loved ones move into a nursing home, we expect that the staff will treat them with all the respect and dignity they deserve. But far too often, that doesn’t happen. Overpopulation and understaffing plague many facilities, and residents end neglected.

What is nursing-home neglect?

Nursing-home neglect can take many forms. In Arizona law, the definition of neglect is “a pattern of conduct without the person's informed consent resulting in deprivation of food, water, medication, medical services, shelter, cooling, heating, or other services necessary to maintain minimum physical or mental health.”

In short, neglect happens when the resident lacks the care they deserve. The following are all red flags that may imply your loved one is facing neglect in their nursing home:

  • Bedsores: Also called pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers, bedsores are injuries to the skin and tissue that occur when a person remains in the same position to long. Bedsores can happen if an immobile resident stays in the same position and staff fails to reposition them.
  • Malnourishment and dehydration: Malnourishment and dehydration occur when staff misses meals or provides meals without the necessary nutrients. The elderly are especially vulnerable to becoming malnourished or dehydrated.
  • Changes in emotional state: Newly developed depression, anxiety and insomnia in your loved one could all be signs of neglect. They may feel increasingly isolated and miss meaningful social interaction.
  • Unanswered call lights: If, when visiting your loved on, you see a haphazard staff ignoring call lights, that could indicate that the staff is doing its job unsuccessfully. A good nursing-home staff will be prompt and work patiently with residents to ensure they received adequate care.

Seek help

If you believe your loved one is living in a nursing home with a neglectful staff, be their ally. Consider speaking with an attorney who can help find a better home for your loved one and take legal action if warranted.

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