According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, neglect of the elderly comes in many forms. In the context of nursing home care, it can take the form of a lack of resources, improper staff training, or inadequate monitoring. Although regulatory agencies inspect and assess nursing homes to make sure that their residents–who are some of the most vulnerable people in society–have the safety, care, and attention they need and deserve, all too often, they suffer serious preventable injuries.
Changes in behavior and diet are two important indicators that can be used to identify nursing home neglect or prove that your loved one may be suffering from abuse. The first step in protecting your loved one is learning how to identify these issues and to know what to do if you suspect elderly neglect or abuse.
Monitoring Patient Wellbeing
Monitoring and assessing residents for changes in behavior, sleep patterns, weight gain or loss, and changes in diet and appetite are important parts of maintaining the health and wellbeing of the elderly residents of a nursing home. Failing to do this can have detrimental results. Caregivers must:
- Note sudden changes in patient wellbeing.
- Chart changes for tracking over time.
- Report to the appropriate authorities any changes that may be a cause for concern.
If you have a loved one admitted in a nursing home and have reason to believe that they are suffering some form of neglect or if they have exhibited unexpected or unexplained changes in weight or diet, you must investigate the issue to make sure you’re your loved one is not in any form of danger. Weight loss, anxiety, and emotional distress can indicate more serious underlying issues at a nursing home.
Depending on the evidence available, you may be able to file a claim against the staff or operators of the nursing home. You should also consider relocating your loved one to another home.
Nursing Home Nutrition and Hydration
Weight gain or loss can be a sign of physical or emotional issues–not just for the elderly but for any age group. With the elderly, however, the issue is of somewhat more concern because of the reliance that the elderly and those in nursing homes have for their daily dietary requirements.
Some elderly patients require meals that are regulated in some. Either the meals must be of a certain consistency or nutritional value, or they must be taken in certain ways depending on medications or other factors relevant to the patient. If your loved one has exhibited weight changes that seem to be unusual, take your concern to the attention of the nursing home team.
Nursing home staff must monitor their residents and take note of changes in weight and be wary of common issues that are linked to changes in weight, such as:
- Adverse reactions to medicines.
- Stomach and intestinal tract issues.
- Hypo- or hyperthyroidism.
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
- A basic lack of access to healthy food.
These factors must be regularly monitored, as per the directives of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Some of these issues are psychological, and others are physical. Nursing staff must monitor and record issues and request a medical assessment if there is reason to believe that a more serious underlying condition is causing the weight changes your loved one is experiencing.
In some cases, weight changes can be the result of abuse and neglect. If you believe this to be the case, you can contact a lawyer who handles elder abuse cases and personal injury law. Your lawyer can advise you concerning your rights and the preventive measures you should take to ensure the protection and wellbeing of your loved one.
Let Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Represent You
If a failure to notice the first signs of weight loss or other forms of neglect are proven, you may be able to seek compensation for:
- Medical bills.
- A loss in the quality of life.
- Pain and suffering damages.
- Repayment of nursing home bills.
You have the option to consult a lawyer who handles elder abuse law. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm offers assistance for such cases, so call us at (800) 842-6336 today.