5 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Ask any nursing home lawyer Greenbelt MD has to offer if nursing home injuries are common these days, and you’ll likely hear that elderly residents often experience a variety of injuries and illnesses. Regardless of whether injuries are caused by abuse or neglect, nursing home facilities have a legal obligation to provide adequate care to residents. When this care is not provided, residents’ family members might choose to speak with a nursing home lawyer Greenbelt MD can depend on. Not only are nursing homes legally required to offer a certain standard of care to residents, but residents can also pursue financial damages if a lack of reasonable care results in injury.
A first step in taking legal action is knowing how abuse and neglect might occur in a nursing home. Here are some of the more common signs and injuries that a nursing home resident is being abused or neglected:
Bedsores and ulcers can occur when there is prolonged pressure on certain areas of the skin. Elderly people who have trouble with mobility or are bedridden typically require assistance from another person to help relieve this pressure — assistance which can be as simple as standing up for a few minutes or turning over in bed.
Bedsores are completely preventable in these cases, so when they do occur, it’s one of the clearest signs that a resident is not receiving adequate attention. As a seasoned nursing home lawyer in Greenbelt MD might explain, this might be the first sign to families that their elderly relatives are being neglected.
2. Unexplained and/or unreported injuries that suddenly appear:
Many families contact a local nursing home lawyer Greenbelt MD can provide when they begin to notice that an elderly relative consistently has new bruises, cuts, or other injuries. Nursing homes typically require staff members to record and report every accident that a resident has because injuries might appear days after the accident occurred. Residents who still have sharp cognitive functioning may be able to explain to staff members and relatives what happened to cause an injury, but residents with cognitive disorders (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s) might not be able to recall what happened.
When injuries consistently appear without any paper trail documenting how they happened, this could be a sign of abuse. Physical and sexual abuse can go unrecognized and unreported in nursing homes for a long time because residents don’t remember, or don’t understand, what is happening to them.
3. Constant injuries from slips, trips, or falls:
This could be a sign that the nursing home environment is not safe. Nursing homes and assisted care facilities have a responsibility to make sure that the premises of the facility are reasonably safe and do not put residents at undue risk for injury. When a nursing home fails to make sure that residents are living in a safe environment, the facility might be held liable when these conditions lead to injuries.
Poor environmental conditions might include:
- Injuries from bumping into sharp table edges or cabinets
- Easy access to stairs or ramps with sharp inclines/declines
- Cracked sidewalks in outdoor recreation areas
- Unlocked doors or windows that allow residents to wander from the premises
- Broken or low-quality furniture
- Unsanitary bathing areas
- Unsanitary kitchen area where meals are prepared by staff members
- Mold, dirt, or other debris in living areas
Not all environmental risk factors can be entirely eliminated, as a skilled nursing home lawyer Greenbelt MD trusts might explain. However, nursing homes are responsible for taking reasonable actions after an injury occurs to lower the risk of it happening again. If a resident trips on a broken piece of concrete, for example, the nursing home might block off the area until the sidewalk can be fixed. Failing to respond to injuries and correct environmental conditions could potentially be considered negligence.
4. Malnutrition and/or dehydration:
This may be a sign that staff members are not making sure that residents are eating or rehydrating, both of which are signs of neglect in nursing homes.
People tend to lose interest in eating healthier foods as they age because their taste buds are less sensitive, thus causing them to seek out foods with sharper tastes — meaning that sugary or salty foods are preferred much more. Individuals who are unable to feed themselves might choose to avoid eating altogether, or there may not be a staff member available to assist. Additionally, nursing homes may choose to provide certain foods to residents not because the foods are nutritious, but because they are cheaper.
It’s no surprise that poor nutrition in aging individuals makes it difficult to recover from illnesses and injuries. This type of neglect is one reason why families choose to contact a nursing home lawyer Greenbelt MD has to offer for legal counsel.
5. Lack of wound care and/or sepsis:
Elderly individuals often have a harder time recovering from injuries simply because their immune systems are weaker than those of younger adults. When wounds are not properly cleaned and dressed regularly, it’s incredibly easy for an infection to occur. Sepsis is one example of bacteria entering the body and causing widespread infection internally. It is also one of the more common signs that an infection has not been treated properly.
Proper wound care is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of nursing home staff members, although some facilities fail to provide staff with adequate training. This could mean that staff members are dressing wounds improperly and are failing to recognize the signs of infection. Despite being one of the most preventable conditions in a nursing home, widespread infection can be fatal.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer Greenbelt MD Depends On
When you need assistance for a personal injury matter, it can be very beneficial to talk with an experienced nursing home lawyer Greenbelt MD can provide. At Cohen and Cohen, P.C., our legal team is dedicated to serving communities throughout Maryland — and we have helped many clients obtain compensation when an injury occurs due to nursing home abuse or neglect.
It’s important to remember that nursing homes are subject to legal rules about the standard of care provided to residents. When this standard is not met, it’s possible for residents and their families to seek compensation. Seeking compensation through a lawsuit or settlement may be beneficial in your case, along with receiving legal counsel from a Greenbelt MD nursing home lawyer — such as one of the experienced attorneys found at Cohen and Cohen, P.C.