A horrifying story from a nursing home in Georgia recently came to light. A scabies outbreak was left unchecked at the Shepard Hills Nursing Home in Lafayette, and a elderly woman died from the infestation. The lawsuit filed by the woman’s family alleges that health officials knew about the issue but failed to order an inspection.

Nursing homes should be safe places for their residents. However, millions of seniors sustain injuries in these assisted living establishments every year. With the elderly population expected to skyrocket in the United States in the coming decades, these injuries are only going to become more prevalent.

What to look for

In many cases, an injury in a nursing home is an accident. However, there are many cases where it is a result of abuse or neglect. It is vital for family members and friends to know about and recognize the most common injuries:

  • Bedsores: Bedsores develop when someone lies in bed for extended periods of time without moving. Patients who suffer from limited mobility as especially susceptible. Since bedsores are so prevalent, nursing home staff members are required to take steps to move residents’ positions to prevent bedsores from forming.
  • Falls: Elderly citizens are more prone to falls due to gait problems and muscle weakness. However, the likelihood of falls increases if the nursing home fails to remove obstacles or situations that can contribute to calls. Factors that contribute to falls include improperly fitted wheelchairs, incorrect bed heights, inadequate lighting and wet floors.
  • Improper medication distribution: Many elderly residents have trouble remembering when to take medication and how much they should take. As a result, it becomes the responsibility of the staff to ensure residents receive proper doses. If caregivers do not have enough training or staff members are overworked, they may give improper dosages or fail to provide medications at all. Check in and stay informed about how much medication your loved one should receive.

If you have a loved one living in a nursing facility, visit often and ask lots of questions if something doesn’t seem right. A change in emotions or behaviors are red flags, as are unexplained bruises or cuts.