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Nursing home neglect: know the warning signs to protect loved ones

Protect elderly loved ones from the risk of nursing home abuse and neglect by learning to recognize the warning signs.
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    December 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Nursing home neglect: know the warning signs to protect loved ones

Article provided by McCutchen, Mumford, Vaught, O'Dea & Geddie, P.A.
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No one would like to believe that a loved one may be at risk while living in a long-term care facility, but the unfortunate truth is that many older individuals experience abuse and neglect at the hands of nursing home staff and others who are entrusted to care for and protect the elderly. According to some estimates, as many as 1 in 10 elderly Americans may experience some form of elder abuse or neglect.

For people with elderly relatives living in long-term care facilities, it is important to be familiar with the warning signs of nursing home neglect and take action quickly if something seems amiss.

What is nursing home neglect?

Most people who live in nursing homes are there because they need assistance with everyday tasks like eating and bathing, or because they require frequent medical care and monitoring. Unfortunately, in some cases, nursing home employees fail to provide the level of care that is needed.

Nursing home neglect occurs when an elderly person is harmed as a result of receiving substandard care at a long-term care facility. In some tragic cases, elder neglect and abuse can even be fatal.

Elder abuse and nursing home neglect can take many different forms. Some of the most common examples include:
-Malnutrition and dehydration.
-Injuries caused by falls.
-Undiagnosed or untreated medical conditions.
-Medication errors or failure to provide medication.

In addition to the above, some cases of elder abuse may involve elements of physical violence, threats, emotional abuse or sexual assault.

Elder abuse risk factors and warning signs

Elder abuse and neglect can strike anywhere, but certain risk factors can make some elderly individuals more vulnerable than others. For instance, the risks may be higher for individuals living in long-term care facilities where staff members are poorly trained or are inadequately screened. In addition, seniors who are mentally or physically disabled may face an increased risk of abuse and neglect, as may those who are socially isolated, unable to communicate or suffering from dementia.

Family members of elderly individuals living in long-term care facilities should be alert to the risk of nursing home abuse and watch for potential red flags, such as:
-Signs of physical trauma, such as broken bones or bruises.
-Sudden changes in mood, including depression or lack of interest in routine activities.
-Unattended medical needs.
-Poor hygiene.
-Unexplained changes in attitude toward a caregiver.

If you suspect that a loved one has been harmed while living in an elder care facility, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer who has experience obtaining compensation for victims of nursing home neglect.

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