Knowing the signs of nursing home neglect

It is important for families to know about nursing home neglect and how to catch it if it is happening to their loved ones.

The last thing that anyone in Oregon with a loved one in long-term care wants to hear about is that they have been mistreated or neglected. Unfortunately, the incidence of these types of events is all-too-common. A report released by the Office of the Inspector General in 2014 describes that only 61 percent of nursing facilities had documented their compliance with federal regulations regarding the reporting of neglect and abuse. The facilities that maintained policies to remain in compliance with federal regulations numbered at 76 percent. This is in comparison with 85 percent of nursing homes having neglect or abuse alleged at least once.

What the above data, which is not exact, but has the percentages rounded as they were presented in the original study, shows that a significant number of nursing homes that had incidents reported were not maintaining policies to ensure compliance with federal regulations. It may be that there is just not a reliable system in place to monitor that all patients are treated humanely and given the attention they deserve. Whatever the exact cause may be, the situation remains that families need to be vigilant and informed about the type of care their elderly are receiving in nursing homes.

How to tell if a loved one is being neglected

Abuse and neglect are both real problems faced by elders in continuous inpatient care. The consequences of neglect for someone who requires near-constant care and maintenance can be dire and can even lead to injury, which is why it is considered to be a form of abuse. A good first step is to regularly talk to the front desk and ask questions about how the loved one is doing. By being regularly present and investigating, it can be gleaned whether things seem fine or if something is not right. This is especially important if the loved one suffers from dementia or is otherwise unable to communicate effectively.

Even if it is not possible to talk to the staff in the nursing facility, there are signs a loved one will show that indicate possible neglect or mistreatment. If the loved one ever seems aggressive, is more irritable than usual or is agitated and uncomfortable, something may be amiss. Ultimately, if there does appear to be an issue, it can be reported to the State Department of Health. In the meantime, it may be best to move the family member to a place that has better references and reviews, where he or she can be better taken care of.

If someone in Oregon does have a loved one who has suffered an injury as a result of negligence while in a long-term care facility, an attorney in the local area who practices personal injury law may be able to help them obtain the financial compensation they need.