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How to spot signs of nursing home neglect

If you have a loved one in a long-term care facility, you probably wonder how you can make sure the care is up to standard and know if your loved one is safe. Learning about some common indicators of potential neglect can help you take action promptly when necessary.

Communication and vigilance are key to noticing if something is wrong. Take care to inspect your loved one's surroundings. Talk to your loved one, staff members and health care providers to get a full picture. Even relatively minor types of neglect can snowball and seriously affect mental and physical health.

Suspicious injuries

An unexplained injury raises a multitude of red flags. While it may be possible for a resident to suffer an injury due to causes other than neglect, you should expect a full explanation that makes sense, including a medical record that corroborates the account. Injuries such as bruises or broken bones typically result from falls. An elderly person may suffer a fall because he or she needed something, did not receive proper assistance, and tried to perform the task on his or her own. Falls can also happen due to a lack of adequate grab bars or medication side effects.

Poor hygiene

Lack of personal hygiene can occur when staff members do not provide enough help in self-care, such as washing, nail-trimming and dental care. Illinois regulations have specific minimum requirements for the provision of personal care assistance. Check the conditions of the room, bathroom, bed linens, dining areas and kitchens. Substandard conditions can severely affect emotional health and promote infections.

Psychological changes

Changes in emotional expression can indicate potential neglect or abuse. If you observe that your loved one is talking less, seems resentful or expresses fear of staff members, you may be wise to look into matters further. Keep in mind that some older people can be reluctant to discuss problems.

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, you need to act right away. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal options and take vigorous action on your behalf.

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