Our parents always took great care of us, and as they age, we try to take care of them. However, when the time comes that they need more help than we can provide at home, we search to find the best possible place for them. Making the decision to place our loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility is extremely difficult. Finding the right place for a parent can seem nearly impossible.
Some tips for finding that perfect place include:
- Check to see if there have been any complaints made against the facility
- Schedule a visit to check out the facility
- Observe the residents to see if they are active and if they interact with the staff and each other
- Make an unscheduled visit to see if there are any changes in staff attitude or the cleanliness of the facility when they are not expecting you
- Talk to residents when there is no staff around to see if they are comfortable or afraid of the staff
A Rise in Nursing Home Abuse
Sadly, there has been an increase in elder abuse in nursing homes in recent years. One reason is that assisted living facilities and nursing homes can be very profitable, and more and more are being purchased by investor groups. These groups often put making higher profits ahead of better care for the residents. It is more difficult for you to achieve satisfaction from complaints made at investor facilities because of the business structure. The investors try to shield themselves from litigation and regulations by basically hiding the nursing home as a subsidiary of some larger company.
What Qualifies as Nursing Home Abuse?
Some examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse, meaning someone is injuring or causing pain to a resident.
- Sexual abuse, which is any unwanted sexual activity, including touch, fondling or even intercourse. Sometimes this happens because a resident is physically forced and sometimes it is because the elderly patient is either unwilling to consent or does not even understand what is happening.
- Emotional abuse, which is harassment, intimidation, verbally belittling a resident or threats of abuse if the patient does not do what he is told.
- Passive neglect, which is when a caregiver at a facility fails to provide a resident with necessities, such as food, water, clothing or medical care.
- Willful deprivation, which means that a facility and/or caregiver is intentionally failing to provide medication, food, care, assistance and therapeutic devices. This leaves the resident vulnerable to physical, emotional and mental harm.
Studies have shown that residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or some other mental impairment are at a much greater risk for abuse. Also, violence against patients who have disabilities is much higher. If your loved one has one of these conditions, pay close attention to them. If you are concerned that they are being abused, here are some signs to look for:
- Unexplained or sudden weight loss
- A shift from being very outgoing to now being withdrawn and quiet or depressed
- Broken bones, bruises, burns or unexplained marks or welts
- An increase in the number of infections
- Refusing to eat or take medication
- A caregiver being reluctant to leave you alone with your loved one
- A sudden unexplained change in your parent’s financial condition
If you are worried that your parent or loved one is suffering from abuse in their nursing home or assisted living facility, and you have not received the attention and satisfaction from the staff that you expect, you might need to seek legal counsel. At Diez-Arguelles & Tejedor, our attorneys have the expertise and experience to help you. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. They are ready to help you protect your loved ones. Call now, 1-888-888-3773.