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You can spot nursing home neglect

We often think of nursing home abuse as physical, sexual or psychological. Certainly, some nursing home residents are victims of these abuses. However, one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse is neglect.

Whether the neglect is intentional by staff members or the result of a facility being understaffed or not properly training and overseeing employees, nursing home neglect can result in injuries, deteriorating health and even death.

West Virginia residents who have loved ones in nursing home often can't visit them every day to help ensure that they're being properly cared for. However, there are some red flags that you should look for whenever you visit a family member. These can indicate serious and potentially dangerous neglect.

  1. Unsanitary conditions. Nursing homes must abide by state requirements for providing a sanitary, comfortable and safe environment. Look at your loved one's bedding, clothing, bathroom facilities and even the kitchen. Infections can spread rapidly throughout a facility that's not properly cleaned and where precautions aren't taken to prevent the spread of bacteria and disease.
  2. Malnutrition and dehydration. These can both lead to serious medical conditions. It's been estimated that one-fifth on nursing home residents suffer from malnutrition. It can result from poor staffing and employees not ensuring that residents are eating properly and consuming enough water.
  3. Mobility issues. Many nursing home residents have mobility challenges. However, good nursing homes have programs to help residents improve mobility and strength as much as possible. If a loved one's mobility is deteriorating without an obvious reason, find out what his or her physical routine is. You also want to ensure that the problem isn't due to an injury suffered in the facility.
  4. Poor hygiene. Many nursing home residents need help with the daily personal routines of bathing, brushing their teeth and getting dressed. Nursing home staff should be assisting them, If your loved one's personal hygiene seems to be suffering, bring it to the attention of the staff and management.

Of course, you should also keep an eye out for injuries, deterioration in health and psychological issues and address those with the people in charge of the facility. West Virginia also has a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program you can contact for assistance. If you believe that a loved one has been harmed by nursing home neglect, it may be wise to contact an attorney to find out what your legal options are.

Source: NextAvenue, "6 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect," Sarah Blanchard, accessed Aug. 09, 2017

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