Nursing homes and long-term care facilities exist to provide care for the sick and elderly. When families place their loved ones in these care centers, it can be extremely emotional for everyone involved. The thought of someone harming our loved ones is simply too much to even think about. However, injuries and elder abuse in Texas nursing homes continues to be an ongoing problem.
One way to help protect your loved one, if they are a nursing home resident, is to learn how to recognize subtle indicators of abuse in older adults. Your loved ones depend on you to look out for their health and safety, and common injuries may be dismissed as accidents if no one is paying attention.
Common Causes of Injuries
Injuries and illness in a care facility can arise from a number of situations. Many injuries result from nursing home neglect and abuse inflicted by nursing home staff members, but accidents happen all the time and not all injuries are from nefarious behavior. Nevertheless, it is vital to determine if injuries are suspicious or legitimately caused by common accidents including:
- Getting stuck in bed rails
- Falling out of bed
- Falling while walking
- Slipping in the shower
Injuries at Nursing Homes
The best thing you can do for your loved ones who reside in long-term care facilities is to be their advocate and their voice. Be aware of injuries and any not-so-obvious signs that might indicate emotional or mental abuse. The most common types of physical harm include:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
This is far from a comprehensive list but it does give you an idea of what to look out for. Also, look for unusual mood changes, and changes in gait or mannerisms, as these may indicate a need for further investigation. Mental and emotional abuse may result in less obvious symptoms, but these issues can be equally as devastating.
Elder Abuse and Neglect
Abuse of any kind is vile and unpleasant to consider, but it does happen. Medical staff can become stressed, frustrated, distracted and forgetful. They may lose sight of their daily tasks, or, at times become spiteful and resentful of those in their care. Any time negativity is taken out on elderly residents in their care, action should be taken. Older people often don’t understand what is happening or may not be able to fight back – this kind of victimization is unforgivable.
Common signs of neglect include:
- Additional illness
- Dirty clothes
- Dirty room
- Inconsistent medication dispensed
- Lack of mobility devices when needed
- Strong body odor / lack of personal hygiene
Common signs of nursing home abuse result from physical contact or injury. These include:
- Broken bones
- Broken eyeglasses
- Bruises or welts
- Jumpy behavior
- Signs of physical restraint such as straps
Be Their Voice
If you notice any of these signs or if your loved one tells you someone hurt them, please contact an elder care attorney immediately. Seniors’ bodies are far more frail and their immune systems are weak, making abuse and neglect potentially life-threatening for the elderly patient.
If you are in need of a compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in the Dallas area, please contact Van Wey, Metzler & Williams right away. Your loved ones are depending on you.