When you helped your aging parent move into a nursing home residence, you no doubt experienced mixed emotions. This is common among adult children. On one hand, you might be relieved that your loved one will have ’round-the-clock care, especially because you can’t always be by his or her side. However, you might also feel sad when coming to terms with the reality of the situation.
All parents age, and some need more specialized care than others as physical or mental health decline takes hold in life. One thing you should never have to worry about is nursing home negligence. There is no excuse for it, but sadly, it happens in West Virginia and throughout the country. It’s important to know where to seek support if you suspect that someone is neglecting your loved one.
What types of issues are cause for concern?
If your parent suffers from dementia or a chronic health condition, he or she might not always be in a good mood when you visit. It’s not uncommon for elderly people to show signs of moodiness. However, if your loved one’s demeanor or personality seems different to you, as if something is frightening or bothering him or her, it could be a sign that all is not well with the quality of care that he or she is receiving. The following list shows issues that suggest possible negligence:
- Incontinence that wasn’t present in the past
- Constant drowsiness or cognitive fogginess
- Poor hygiene, including severe body odor
- Disheveled appearance
- Signs of dehydration, such as cracked lips or swollen tongue
- Always complains of hunger
- Shows fear or irritation when a particular staff member is nearby
- Visible signs of injury, such as a laceration or bruise
- Appears withdrawn from interaction with others
If your loved one is coherent and able to function cognitively, it’s certainly worthwhile to ask if something in particular is bothering him or her if you are worried about possible nursing home negligence.
Staff members and nursing home administrators owe you an explanation
You can request a meeting with nursing home staff or officials any time you have a concern about the quality of care that your loved one is receiving. If you ask about an injury and are not satisfied with the explanation given, you can further investigate the situation.
For instance, if you know that your loved one is supposed to have 24-hours-per-day supervision, and you suspect that he or she fell out of a wheelchair or bed when left unattended, you will want to address the issue immediately. Never hesitate to reach out to a patient advocate or legal representative if you suspect that your parent’s injuries were the cause of nursing home negligence.