If your loved ones are dependent on the full-time care that comes from skilled nursing facilities, it is important to make sure they are receiving all the care that you and your family expect. Disabled people and the elderly are especially vulnerable to abuse, neglect and other forms of exploitation, and while nursing facilities are regulated, the nature of their work also means that sometimes it can be easy to miss signs that a facility is not holding up its end of the deal.
Unlike cases of abuse, which can sometimes be perpetuated by a single staff member or even another resident, neglect is a more widespread and often harder-to-spot occurrence. That is because by definition it does not involve directly injuring someone so it can be easy to miss what is happening until the neglect escalates.
Signs that your loved one is being neglected
Caregiver neglect is apparent in a variety of ways:
- Failure to give medication
- Giving the wrong medication to patients
- Prescribing new medications without consulting the family
- Failure to obtain medical care during emergencies
- Delaying care unnecessarily
In less pronounced cases, some of these behaviors can seem like reasonable professional disagreements, especially the last one. The fact is, though, that you and your loved ones have a right to understand and communicate about care, and it is never appropriate to delay care for someone complaining of a medical issue. If you notice these patterns, it is worthwhile to act on them sooner, rather than later. Otherwise, the first time that a major incident happens could be when time is of the utmost importance, such as during a medical emergency.
How to protect yourself and your loved ones
Fox Business covered this topic extensively a few years ago when a new regulatory rule change was pending, and they came to a few recommendations. For starters, make sure that you take your time to review the available care options. Don't let hospitals push you into a discharge, because they know they are supposed to give you adequate time to view facilities and make a choice. Once you have located your loved one's future home, you also need to be proactive about keeping up on care details. That way, you can locate a new facility right away if there is any reason to be worried.
Being aware of the early signs of neglect is the best way to steer clear of a major incident down the road. When your loved ones are living in nursing home facilities, it is up to you to help protect them and to keep the lines of communication open at all times. If you suspect wrongdoing, contact an experienced attorney for more information on your options.