When people get older, they experience physical and cognitive issues that can make it difficult for them to live independently. If you and your family can’t provide the degree of support that your aging loved one requires, it’s common to turn to a nursing home environment as a solution for their needs.
In theory, nursing homes help keep older adults safe by providing them with support and care. They charge quite a premium for those services. Unfortunately, given that many nursing homes are for-profit institutions, they often do everything in their power to keep their costs low.
Putting as little staff as possible on shift on any given day is a common strategy to minimize their expenses. Understaffing can lead to neglect, which can have catastrophic consequences for residents. Know some of the warning signs of nursing home neglect so that you can help advocate for your loved one when they must stay in a nursing home.
Falls are not an inevitable part of aging
Falls happen because people lack the strength or equilibrium to stop themselves from losing their balance. Your loved one may require physical assistance getting out of bed, dressing themselves or going to the bathroom.
It is incumbent upon the nursing home to have adequate staff available to meet these needs for your loved ones and other residents. If they don’t have enough staff and someone tries to navigate the space by themselves only to fall, those injuries could be the fault of the facility.
Lice, bed bugs and scabies are all preventable and treatable
Anyone who has had a child in grade school knows how quickly lice can pass through a community of people in close proximity to one another. The same is true of both scabies and bed bugs.
Nursing home staff members should make every effort to keep the facility clean and safe. Routine cleaning of residents and rooms can help prevent severe infestation and give staff a chance to identify and treat those issues quickly when they do arise.
Limited mobility does not have to result in pressure ulcers
Just because some older adults can’t move freely without support doesn’t mean that pressure ulcers, also called bedsores, are inevitable.
If there is adequate support, including cushioning for high-risk areas like the buttocks, tailbone and back of the shoulders and legs, residents are less likely to develop bedsores. Frequent rotation and movement to prevent constant pressure on one part of the body are also necessary.
If your loved one has suffered a fall, experienced some kind of infestation or developed serious bedsores, those issues might be indicative of a lack of staff and neglect that could continue to impact your loved one’s health and happiness as long as they are a resident at that facility. You may need to speak up on your loved ones the half or possibly take legal action against the facility to push them to prioritize the safety and well-being of residents over profit.