Warning Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
We trust nursing homes to take care of our elderly parents and family members who require daily care. It's hard to accept the possibility that a loved one is being mistreated, even when signs are there. If a loved one is in a nursing home, it is essential you be aware of warning signs of neglect.
Skin Breakdown or BedsoresBedsores and skin breakdown are almost entirely preventable with proper care. Bedsores, or decubitus ulcers, form as a result of lying still for extended periods of time, and are a clear indicator of substandard care. These sores are extremely uncomfortable for the patient, and can cause life threatening complications if left untreated.
Under current laws, nursing homes are responsible for injuries suffered as a result of a failure to prevent pressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers, provide adequate nutrition and hydration, maintain range of motion of patients, and maintain a resident’s ability to bathe, dress, groom and walk from a bed to a chair.
The existence of a bed sore indicates that the patient received substandard care. Non-healing sores, and sores that are not adequately or promptly addressed, can lead to amputations and sometimes even death.
If you see skin breakdown or bedsores, document your loved one's condition. Photos depicting the extent of the bedsores are important evidence. Write down dates and times that you noted bedsores, that you spoke to caregivers and that your loved one received care. Save and backup any voicemails and other communications about your loved one. This can be crucial evidence in a case for nursing home neglect.
Weight Loss, Emotional Withdrawal and Unexplained Physical InjuriesIf you’ve noticed your loved one is losing a drastic amount of weight, this could be a sign that he or she is not receiving the proper nutrition. While some weight loss among the elderly is expected, noticeable weight loss could be a sign that the staff is not adequately feeding or monitoring the diet of your loved one.
Nursing homes are required to monitor resident's weight. Weight loss can be a factor in pre-disposing patients to the development of bedsores, and can lower patient's ability to fight disease.
If your loved one is reluctant to talk, distant from friends and family, and less interested in activities, it could be a sign that he or she is being neglected. Your loved one might feel unwanted, ignored, or unworthy of care.
Unexplained broken bones, bruises, or head injuries could all be signs of neglect or abuse. The nursing home has a duty to take steps to prevent injury and provide a safe environment. Failing to provide a resident with the necessary assistance to get around the facility could be neglect on the nursing home’s part.
Don't be afraid to speak up! You should request a meeting with the Nursing Home Administrator if any of these issues are noted.
Time Limitations in Nursing Home Neglect CasesAll civil actions are subject to strict time limitations. If you are filing a case, it must be done within the applicable statute of limitations. Nursing home neglect cases may be subject to medical malpractice, negligence, statutory violations and, at times, wrongful death statute of limitations. In New York, wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of the date of death. Lawsuits for negligence and statutory violations must be started within three years in New York. Medical Malpractice cases in New York are generally subject to a two year and six month statute of limitations, although if the facility is owned by the city or state the time period is much shorter and special rules apply. When there has been ongoing treatment the statute of limitations can be extended if certain circumstances are present. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible when you believe you are a loved one has been the victim of malpractice or neglect.