It's never an easy decision to send a loved one, such as a parent, to a nursing home. You may have done your best to provide in-home care until you simply could not anymore. People with degenerative physical and mental conditions need extra support. Those with medical issues like dementia and Alzheimer's disease may also need more care than a family member can provide. Especially if you have a job and children of your own, the amount of care can quickly exceed what you can offer.
Nursing homes are supposed to be safe, clean and protected spaces for the aging and infirm. You must entrust the daily needs, as well as the emotional and social health, of your loved one to the care providers and administrators who manage the facility. Sadly, even facilities that look clean and have excellent records can neglect or abuse the people entrusted to their care.
Negligence is a serious concern for those with limited ability
If your loved one cannot walk, communicate effectively or care for himself or herself without assistance, a nursing home can provide assistance with self-care and medical needs. Unfortunately, facilities are often profit-based, meaning that there is an incentive to keep costs, including staffing expenses, as low as possible.
When the care providers are poorly paid or overworked, they are more likely to cut corners in their work or take out their frustrations on their charges. Even if there isn't any overt abuse, failing to keep someone clean and routinely engaged and moved can have serious medical repercussions.
Bed sores are a perfect example. These sores erupt due to pressure caused by immobility. Aides and nurses can prevent their formation by regularly moving, turning, rolling or lifting your loved one. Even early stage bed sores can be a warning sign of inadequate care.
People who don't receive proper care are at risk of injury
If your loved one has reduced mobility, he or she may need help to get dressed, eat or even go to the bathroom. When there isn't enough staff at a nursing home to help the people there in a timely manner, residents may try to complete these kinds of tasks without support. The end result can be a fall, which could prove fatal in some cases. Broken bones and other issues can also result from a fall that was otherwise preventable with adequate staff support.
For adults between the ages of 65 and 84, falls are the second most common cause of an injury-related death. For those ages 85 or higher, falls become the single most common cause of an injury-related death. Broken hips, extreme pain and other issues can result from a slip, trip or fall suffered by a nursing home patient just trying to put on shoes or relieve themselves. For these victims of neglect and their families, pursuing action against the nursing home may be a wise legal move.