What to Do If You Suspect Neglect in a Loved One’s Nursing Home
In February 2016 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and US Department of Health & Human Services published a study on long-term care. Nursing homes are institutions within the long-term care industry, which is poised for unprecedented growth in the US. The number of Americans that will be over the age of 65 is projected to increase from roughly 40 million in 2010 to roughly 88 million in 2050. The increase in older Americans is occurring at a time when family size is decreasing and more women are employed full-time, which potentially results in the decrease of the available traditional family caregivers, and bolstering demand for external providers to care for the elderly.
Understanding Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect, for these purposes, is a pattern of behavior that results in a resident being deprived of basics such as: food and water, medication, medical services, a sanitary environment, and other aspects of care necessary for physical and mental health. Some of the more common indicators or “red-flags” that your loved one may be a victim of neglect in their nursing home may include:
- The presence of bedsores, which are visible resulting from constant pressure from remaining in bed in a stationary position for extended periods.
- Signs that a resident isn’t bathing regularly.
- Clothing that isn’t fully covering the body or is not appropriate for the temperature.
- The presence of insects or parasites such as fleas, lice etc.
- Signs of malnutrition
- Soiled clothing, bedding etc.
- The resident is confined to an unusual area.
- A lack of supervision to those with dementia.
- The absence of common medical aids such as glasses, dentures, walker etc.
Options for reporting neglect
In the rare occurrence that you encounter instances of overtly dangerous action, contact the local authorities; however, these are more likely classified as abuse rather than neglect. If able to converse with the individual that you fear may be neglected, one option is to conduct an informal interview through conversation to probe and gather information. Some of the general tips for doing so include:
- Building a level of trust and rapport.
- Asking specific questions in a positive manner.
- Initiate friendly conversation and then ask your questions geared to uncover neglect.
- Opened-ended questions that may unearth critical information.
- Maintain sensitivity.
Where to report your findings of potential neglect
- The agency of Adult Protective Services provides a hotline specifically for such issues that can be reached at (877) 767-2385
- The State of Arizona Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which is a segment of the Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services.
If you have a loved that has suffered from treatment in a nursing home, you owe it to them to contact a Phoenix elder abuse lawyer at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (602) 267-1280. We take these matters very seriously and will aggressively pursue compensation.