It’s understandable that you would worry about your parent’s safety if he or she were living alone. Once your loved one has transitioned to a New York nursing home, you shouldn’t have to worry as much about safety. You definitely shouldn’t have to worry about nursing home neglect or any other issue placing your mother or father at risk for injuries caused by substandard care.
Sadly, nursing home neglect is problematic in New York and in many other states. It is helpful to know how to recognize warning signs that suggest that your parent is not receiving proper care or that a staff member is harming or threatening him or her. Signs of neglect can be subtle, but if you know what to look for, you can investigate any issue that causes you concern.
Issues that suggest neglect or abuse
The following list includes five of the most common symptoms that occur in nursing home patients neglected or abused by staff members:
- Unexplained injuries
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Bed sores
- Unkempt appearance
- Soiled clothing or dirty bed linens
Even one of these issues suggests that your loved one is at risk. If you notice several warning signs, it is quite possible that negligence or abuse is a problem at the facility in question.
Unexplained injuries may be a symptom of nursing home neglect
A nursing home resident should not have unexplainable injuries. This is often a sign of neglect or abuse. If you notice inflammation, swelling, bruising, lacerations or a sprained wrist, ankle or elbow, there should be a full and reasonable explanation as to how it occurred.
Your loved one should not feel hungry and thirsty all the time
Elderly nursing home residents often become finicky about eating. It is challenging to become accustomed to cafeteria style food. However, if your parent is complaining of hunger or shows signs of dehydration, such as dry, cracked lips, fatigue, confusion, headache, etc., it is best to seek a medical examination to determine if malnutrition or dehydration is causing the symptoms. Food and water deprivation is one of the most common signs of nursing home neglect or abuse.
Don’t let anyone tell you that bed sores are normal
Bed sores are a sign that staff members are not turning or repositioning a nursing home patient often enough in a bed or wheelchair. Staff members know how to avoid bed sores by making sure they help immobile patients change positions every few hours. They also have devices and specific procedures to reduce friction while moving a patient, which lowers the risk of getting a bed sore.
Bed sores can become infectious, which can be a life-threatening situation. If you see bed sores on your loved one, it is cause for concern.
Your loved one should always be clean
You can expect care providers to carry out proper hygiene practices daily. If you notice a stench of urine, feces or body odor, it is best to ask questions and make sure staff are performing daily washing, teeth cleaning, combing hair, etc. If your loved one’s appearance is unkempt, it may be a sign of a more serious, underlying problem, such as nursing home neglect.
Accidents happen, but bed linens should not stay soiled
Health issues can cause bladder or rectal incontinence, especially for an elderly person in a nursing home. Care providers understand that accidents happen. They also know how important it is to change bed linens often and in a timely manner, if an accident has occurred.
Soiled underwear, clothing or bed linens are common signs of caretaker negligence. If you believe that substandard care is placing your loved one at risk in a New York nursing home, do not hesitate to reach out for additional support to investigate the situation.