Picture this: You just visited mom or dad at the nursing home, and while you’re there you notice a few bruises on their arm as they flinch away from the nurse who was checking her vitals. When you ask the nurse about this, you’re told, “Bruises happen all the time since old people bruise easily.” You don’t know if this is true or not but after seeing these things multiple times, you suspect nursing home negligence by the staff.
Some bruising is common for elderly people due to certain medications, naturally thinning skin, or small accidents like bumping into furniture, but it can also be a warning sign that your loved one is being abused by their caregiver in the nursing home.
Unexplained injuries or accidents in the nursing home are simply unacceptable. Legally, the nursing home must supervise residents adequately and provide a safe environment at all times. If an injury does occur, they must notify a family member of the resident and the resident’s physician regarding the injury or accident, but this does not happen if it is an abusive or negligent situation.
Because nursing home caretakers are often the perpetrators of this abuse and negligence, the responsibility of recognizing and reporting typically falls to family members or friends. Being aware of the types of abuse and warning signs will only help you be an advocate.
Be on the lookout for…
- Unexplained injuries including cuts, bruising, bloody clothing or bedding
- Unexplained accidents
- Unsanitary conditions
- Infections from cuts or in the genitals
- Broken bones
- Sudden death
- Acting nervous around or fearful of the staff
- Staff delays or refuses your visit
- Staff won’t leave you alone in the room with the patient
Take notes about the abuse or negligence you observed, including the date and the nursing home’s response about what happened. For an injury, record the location of the injury and condition of it when you saw it. If the patient is mentally capable, ask them what happened.
Share your concerns with the supervisor on duty, nursing home administrator, or director of nursing. Allow them to offer an explanation for what has happened or to investigate your concerns; the nursing home is required by law to address any concerns you have about the patient’s care.
If the answer you’re given is unsatisfactory and/or conditions do not improve or worsen, call 911 or local authorities if you think your loved one is in immediate danger. Next, contact an attorney who has experience in nursing home negligence who will fight to ensure that the abuse or neglect does not continue and that your loved one receives adequate care. There are many avenues you can explore and your attorney will be able to advise you on the best route for you to take.
Nursing home neglect and abuse causing unexplained injuries is far too common and shouldn’t be tip-toed around. In order to effect change in how these facilities operate, we need to hold them accountable for their negligent practices. If you feel that your loved one was mistreated while living in a nursing home, call or message us today.