HomeHealth Blog

Elderly Care 101: Nursing Home Neglect and What You Can Do About It

While it’s not true for everyone, for most people, we all owe our parents. They brought us into the world, nurtured us, and gave us the chance to lear

While it’s not true for everyone, for most people, we all owe our parents. They brought us into the world, nurtured us, and gave us the chance to learn, grow and take on life. They taught us what we needed to know to survive in today’s world, and if they did a good job, they’ll have us as proof of this. 

Our parents are very important. But, as the world turns, we all grow old. Sometimes, we reach the age in life and meet certain conditions where we simply cannot care for ourselves as we once could. 

Though this is a sad fact of life, it is a truth that many people don’t ever consider until they reach old age.

Fortunately, today we have nursing homes and assisted living facilities to care for the elderly when they can no longer care for themselves. Unfortunately, we also have cases of abuse and neglect in many nursing facilities across the country. 

Here, we’ll explore the truth behind nursing home neglect and abuse.

Cases of Neglect

While nobody wants to see their loved ones suffer, neglectful staff at nursing homes can make this nightmare a reality. In fact, some cases of neglect are so severe that some nursing home residents have died due to bedsores. 

Wheelchair and bed-bound patients, if neglected, develop ulcerous sores and this can cause significant infection if left untreated. In many cases, this also causes undue pain and discomfort and is one of the most common forms of neglect in nursing homes. Other cases of neglect come from abusive staff. While some nursing home facilities pride themselves on the treatment and care of their residents, others are underfunded and poorly staffed. 

Poorly staffed facilities, or those with little resources, often employ people who aren’t well trained or compassionate enough to deal with elderly patients on a daily basis. Some cases of abuse include but aren’t limited to the following: 

  • Frequent Bruises on the Head and Arms 
  • Overmedicating Patients 
  • Infected Bedsores
  • Verbal Abuse 
  • Mental Abuse 
  • Isolating Residents (for days at a time)

Though many nursing homes have frequent quality checks when it comes to safety and operating standards, some of these facilities know how to get around inspections and not much can be done about abuse or neglect without proof.

What to Do if You Suspect Abuse 

One of the worst things in the world to witness is the suffering of a loved one. And, as much as nobody wants to be the victim of abuse, not many want to confront a nursing home with allegations of abuse.

If you suspect that a relative or loved one is the victim of abuse, there are several things that you can do to uncover possible neglect or abuse, and end it immediately.

First, make frequent visits to your loved one at the nursing home. This will alert any abusive staff that you’re proactively involved with their care. If you can’t be there frequently, have other family members also check in daily or weekly. Take notes of anything suspicious, whether this is visible bruises or if your loved one seems afraid of the staff. 

Ideally, file a report with the nursing home ombudsman to let them know that you suspect abuse at the facility. If this doesn’t help, it’s time to call the authorities and contact a lawyer to have your loved one removed from the facility altogether. 

Alternatives to Nursing Homes

While nursing homes are often looked upon as a last resort, there are several other options to care for your loved one.

Perhaps you have room at your home and the know-how to care for your relative or loved one. Or, perhaps another family member is equipped to do so. Here, you’ll have to remember that caring for the elderly is a huge undertaking, so only go this route if you’re up to the challenge.

Additionally, you can also have at-home hospice care, or hire a live-in nurse to care for your loved one. 

At the end of the day, you want to ensure that your relative is cared for just as you once were when you were younger and couldn’t fend for yourself.