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Watch for signs of abuse and neglect in nursing homes

Senior citizens who are in nursing homes count on the help of the nurses and other staff members to help them with daily care tasks. While many people get that assistance without any issues, there are instances in which the residents suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of the individuals who are being paid to care for them.

Nursing home abuse and neglect come in many forms. Knowing some of the warning signs of these might help you spot issues that are present.

  • The resident has a body odor or is wearing dirty clothing. Not having help with personal care like toileting might mean they smell of feces or urine. Having unclean hair or overgrown nails are also signs of neglect.
  • Your loved one complains of incontinence when that wasn't an issue before. Mobility issues might require them to have help going to the toilet. When this doesn't happen, they might have accidents.
  • Disposable briefs or adult diapers aren't changed regularly. There might be rashes, skin breakdown, sores or pressure ulcers in that area. The person might complain of pain or itching.
  • You notice that the resident has a dry mouth, sudden weight loss or cracked lips. These, along with other signs, signal that malnourishment or dehydration are occurring.
  • Frequent or unexplained injuries occur. These can be broken bones from frequent falls, bruises or scratches that might be due to rough transfers and other injuries. Nursing home staff members know that the residents are often frail, so they should be treated appropriately.

When there are issues at a nursing home, you need to take action quickly to address the problems. Depending on the severity and the impact to your loved one, you might choose to handle this directly with the administration, but legal action is also possible.

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