Very often neglect and abuse in nursing homes goes on right under the noses of visiting family members. You can help prevent this by knowing what to look for and being inviolved in the care.
What Should I Know? Federal and State laws grant specific rights to nursing home residents. These laws state that nursing homes must provide care and services “to attain and maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident”.
By law, nursing homes must complete a comprehensive assessment for each new resident within two weeks of admission. The home must also develop a plan of care for each resident. Residents can permit family members to help develop the care plan. Unfortunately, some nursing homes may only partially follow the care plan or ignore it completely.
Steps that you can take include
Involve yourself from the beginning,; Participating in forming the care plan; Visiting the resident often and at various times; Keeping a list of staff names; Communicating with the resident and staff.
Neglect can appear as or occur as a result of:
Unnecessary physical or chemical restraint ; Malnutrition or dehydration ; Improper or over-medication; Insufficient staff or supervision; Injury or weight change; Bedsores; Poor resident hygiene; Sexual assault; Defective equipment; Wandering; Unexpected death
Contact the appropriate people:
Immediately notify the nursing home administrator; Notify the State Office of the Ombudsman; Contact an attorney who concentrates in nursing home neglect cases.