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Don’t Be Fooled, Part 3: When to Get Suspicious
It’s an unfortunate – and often tragic – fact that nursing home abuse occurs regularly in the United States. We want to think that our elderly loved ones are safe, and that we can trust staff members to provide the proper level of care. However, the reality is often different. If you pay attention to the environment in which your loved one is staying and observe the ways that staff members and other residents behave, you can possibly reduce the risk of potential problems occurring.
Time to Worry?
There are several ways you can tell if something is wrong with the type of care your elderly loved one is receiving. Physical and emotional signs can often alert you to an issue.
For example, you might notice unusual bruising or odd marks on the body that could be signs physical abuse is taking place. Or your loved one may seem withdrawn or nervous, especially when a certain staff member comes into the room or walks past. You might even notice that nearby residents are acting in a belligerent manner. These could all be indications that you need to take some sort of action in order to ensure your loved one’s safety.
Neglect is another major problem that occurs in nursing homes. Has there been unexplained injuries or the need for emergency medical treatment. Take a good look around not only your loved one’s room but also the other areas of the facility you walk through. If you spot any sort of unsanitary conditions, those are red flags that may indicate a serious problem.
Establishing unpredictable visiting patterns can go a long way toward helping ensure your loved one will be safe. When staff members know when and what time you’ll arrive, that makes it much easier for them to conceal abuse. You should also take the time to communicate with the personnel who interact with your loved one most often. Talk to administrators, physical therapists, nurses, doctors and others so they know you take your loved one’s health and safety extremely seriously.
There are several online resources you can consult if you have any reason to believe your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected. The National Center on Elder Abuse, for example, provides links to agencies in each state where you can report your concerns. Of course, if your loved one is in immediate danger you should always call 911.