Nursing home residents have the right to dignity and adequate care. But there are times they suffer hidden abuse.
Abuse and neglect
Nursing home abuse can include any intentional mistreatment. Neglect occurs when the staff members at the facility do not provide the health care that residents need according to their requirements or condition. Neglect is responsible for most injuries and deaths in skilled nursing homes.
Nursing home abuse can involve:
- Neglect of basic needs which results in an injury
- Physically abuse of a resident by staff or other residents
- Sexual assault
- Emotional abuse
- Loss of weight
- Bed sores, broken bones or other physical injuries
Family members can generally trust their instincts on whether their relatives are being properly cared for. If they see physical or emotional changes, they should raise their concerns with the facility’s administrator or staff. This may address the problem before it becomes critical.
Common signs of elder abuse include:
- Pressure sores which usually comes from inadequate care over a period of time
- Broken bones which should not occur and usually come from falls because a resident was inadequately monitored
- Malnutrition which can lead to declining health and complications and also indicates inadequate staffing
- Behavior changes which may be signs of abuse, depression, or abusive treatment
- Excessive medication or sedation
Families must immediately assess the situation and, in serious situations, act immediately. In critical situations, contact law enforcement. Dial 9-1-1 to report abuse or to seek assistance if a resident is in immediate danger
Families should report abuse and neglect to the New jersey Department of Health if there is no emergency. This may lead to an on-site investigation, the preparation of a report and other action.
Researching the facility before a loved one is admitted is the best way to prevent abuse or neglect. Families should review medicare.gov and New Jersey Department of Health information.