The Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services in Georgia reports that abuse of the elderly and disabled adults is one of the most underreported problems in the United States. Even worse, abuse of these at-risk adults is typically intentional. Even neglect can be deliberate. A caregiver withholds medication or refuses to bathe an elderly adult. Elder abuse occurs in a person’s home and in assisted living or nursing care facilities.
Warning signs of nursing home neglect
According to the Division of Aging Services, these are some of the warning signs of neglect:
- Bed sores or rashes
- Decaying teeth
- Dirty bedding
- Lack of clothing or being inappropriately dressed for the weather
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Personality changes in the adult
When looking for neglect, you have to take into account the entire picture of care. Your loved one might change his or her own clothes after the staff dressed him or her for the day. A one-time occurrence of dirty bedding could just mean that the staff was stretched thin that day. Some diseases cause personality changes or make it difficult for the person to want to eat.
Preventing abuse and neglect
The best way to prevent neglect and abuse is to take an active role in the care of your loved one. Visit regularly to ensure good care and to know the health and emotional state of your family member. If you suspect nursing home neglect, start documenting what you see and contact the authorities. In Georgia, the Healthcare Facility Regulation is responsible for investigating reports in community living facilities.
When you trust the care of your loved one to someone else, you expect that person or the nursing facility to provide the right kind of care. If they did not do what they are supposed to, you need to hold them accountable. An experienced nursing home neglect attorney can help you make sure your family member is getting proper treatment and care after mistreatment. A legal claim can also help protect others from suffering the same fate.