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What is Nursing Home Neglect?

You’ve probably heard about nursing home neglect or abuse. At Trammell & Mills, we address it in some of our commercials. If someone special in your life is in assisted living or a nursing home, you trust that the professionals who work there will take proper care of them with food, hygiene, and medications. Tragically, that’s not always the case. Neglect cases are more common than you think, but you don’t hear much about them.

What is nursing home neglect? It’s poor care by the staff that causes residents to suffer physically.  In the worst cases, a staff member might be hitting or allowing a resident to roam and fall.  Older residents may not talk about being neglected, so you need to look for signs that someone might be suffering from abuse.

One common form of neglect is a lack of attention or care in monitoring your loved ones ability to move around or be moved around.  They may not be getting turned in their bed routinely, given assistance during shower or bath time, and/or monitored at all as they roam the halls without their walking devices. Another form is abandonment, when the staff simply doesn’t interact with the resident personally or leaves them alone for hours on end. Sometimes, they aren’t fed enough food, may miss entire meals, or aren’t given enough liquids to drink.

Perhaps the staff isn’t administering their medications on the proper schedule—or not at all. There could be illnesses when they should have called in a doctor or an ambulance—but didn’t. If they aren’t moving or turning a resident often enough in bed, they could develop sores on their bodies.  And the abuse can also be verbal, with the staff saying hurtful things that make the resident feel awful about themselves.

It’s not a pretty list, but these things do happen in some nursing homes.  Why do they happen? Occasionally, nursing homes hire workers who aren’t suited for the job. The facility may be understaffed, and caretakers are overworked.  Or some staff members may not be properly trained.  These aren’t excuses; they are root causes of poor treatment, and they shouldn’t be allowed to continue.

Continued neglect in a nursing home can lead to several dangerous problems. Poor hygiene can lead to rashes, bedsores, or infected wounds.  Urinary tract infections are also common when a resident isn’t kept clean.  Lack of food can cause malnutrition, and insufficient liquids could result in choking or dehydration. In extreme cases, prolonged neglect can lead to amputations or even wrongful death.

So, what can you do? Ask the resident how they’re being treated, away from staff members. Look for signs like loss of mobility, unexplained injuries, unexplained fear or anger, and thirst or hunger. If they need medical attention, get it immediately. And if you suspect neglect, contact Trammell & Mills at (864) 485-8585. There may be statutes of limitations, so don’t hesitate to take action. We’ll investigate your case and prosecute it with a passion. We despise such abuse, and we’ll do everything possible to make a negligent nursing home pay.

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