Siegal & RichardsonLLP

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Neglect in nursing homes might not always be easy to spot

It is usually easy to spot the signs of physical abuse in nursing homes, but this isn't the only issue that elderly individuals in these facilities face. Some are subjected to neglect, which can be utterly devastating. Often, they are at the mercy of the men and women who are paid to take care of them. When those employees don't handle their duties properly, residents can suffer.

Watching for signs of nursing home neglect requires you to look closely at what is going on. These signs might be subtle, but spotting them early and taking action can help the resident greatly.

Watch the employee turnover rate

One sign that neglect is more likely to happen is a high turnover rate of staff members. It is difficult for new employees to join the facility and immediately learn the ropes and what the residents need. Since some of these elderly individuals can't relay their needs to the staff, they need to have people there who are familiar with them. This is impossible when nurses and aides are constantly changing.

Check personal hygiene and facility cleanliness

A primary duty of nursing homes is to help the residents with daily tasks, which includes things like bathing, dressing and cleaning. If you notice that your loved one looks unkempt, has body odor or is living in a filthy room, there is a very good chance that they are being neglected. They should always have on clothing appropriate for the current temperature, including coats and hats if they go outdoors on a chilly night. All areas of the facility, including common rooms, patient rooms and other spaces should be clean and tidy.

Make note of medical issues

A sudden uptick in medical issues might signal that the resident isn't getting the care they need. This could mean that medication isn't being given on schedule or that the person isn't being monitored properly. If there is a sudden series of falls or something similar going on, it could mean that the assistance needed to aid mobility isn't being provided.

Keep an eye on weight and hydration

Malnutrition and dehydration are two serious problems for nursing home residents in San Francisco. In some cases, this is because the person has a form of dementia that makes it hard for them to remember these basic needs.

In other instances, medications might contribute to the problem. It is up to the nursing home staff to keep an eye on residents and ensure that they are getting proper fluid and nutrient intake. This might even involve helping them to eat and drink.

If you think that your loved one is being neglected by nursing home staff members, don't wait until you know for sure. Take steps to put an end to the possible neglect right away.

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