In the year 2003, state Long Term Care Ombudsman programs investigated 20,673 complaints of abuse, neglect and exploitation in nursing homes. If you have a loved one in an Orange County care facility you may assume that he or she is well cared for and treated properly. Even so, it may be in your best interest to constantly watch for signs of abuse and neglect. Facilities that foster unsafe living conditions or companies that hire employees without conducting proper background checks should be held accountable for their actions. If you feel that your loved one has been involved with nursing home abuse it is essential to contact an Orange County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer immediately.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence
There are many potential signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, it is common for the elderly to suffer injuries as a result of slip and fall accidents or to experience health issues. So it is often difficult to distinguish between signs of abuse and the aging process. If, however, your loved one tells you about the abuse or if you see signs of neglect or abuse, it would be in your best interest to report it to the appropriate authorities. A few of the most common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect include:
- Unnatural bruising: There are certain bruises that may indicate restraint or abuse. Bruising on the wrists or elbows, for example, may be a sign that a worker was forceful with your loved one. Some facilities use unnecessary restraints to hold a patient in their bed. In such cases, there may be bruising around the wrists or ankles.
- Chemical restraint: This has become a common problem in California's nursing homes. Chemical restraint is when nursing home staff unnecessarily drug residents. Often times, residents are drugged because nursing home staff simply does not want to deal with them or be bothered by them.
- Broken bones: The elderly are prone to falls, but broken bones may be proof of wrongdoing.
- Changes in finances: Financial abuse involves individuals stealing money or defrauding the elderly. Are there missing items or checks from your loved one's room? Has his or her will or deed been altered recently?
- Personality change: Victims of abuse often become withdrawn, nervous or shy. They may be unwilling to see their family out of embarrassment about their situation.
- Bedsores: It is common for individuals who spend a lot of time in bed or in a wheel chair to suffer from minor bedsores. If, however, these bedsores persist or they get worse or become infected, it could be a sign that the nursing home is not giving them the attention they need. Patients should be shifted and moved throughout the day to minimize bedsores. Failure to do so is neglect.
- Dehydration and malnutrition: Has your loved one lost weight recently? Care facilities must not only provide adequate meals but also ensure that the residents eat the food as well. They cannot force them to eat, but they should do everything possible to ensure that the resident is receiving proper care and nourishment.
- Fear: Victims of abuse may show signs of fear around certain individuals. Other times they may become depressed or angry.
Steps You Can Take
If you observe any signs of abuse, it may be in your best interest to discuss them with your loved one and to express your concerns with the facility's administrators. If you concerns are not being addressed, or worse, if they are ignored, then, it may be in your best interest to move your loved one to another facility. If your loved one has been injured or if he or she had died as a result of neglect and abuse, please remember that you have rights. It is important that nursing homes that put profits before people be held accountable.
The experienced Orange County nursing home abuse attorneys at Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP have helped victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and their families obtain fair compensation for their damages and losses. Civil litigation also helps victims and their families obtain and sense of justice and it gives them the satisfaction of having done their part to hold the wrongdoers accountable and ensure that others are not victimized in the same manner. If you or a loved one has suffered neglect or abuse in an Orange County nursing home, please contact us to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
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