We trust nursing homes to take care of our loved ones. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. Even worse, we may not know until too late that a nursing home isn't caring for someone we love as they should.
So how can you spot nursing home neglect? And what can you do if you do spot it?
Types of Neglect
Nursing home neglect can go undetected if relatives aren't familiar with the types of neglect elders can face in nursing homes. These forms of neglect may manifest in different ways:
- Lack of emotional/psychological attention
- Unaddressed self-neglect
Understanding that elder harm can take the form of neglect as opposed to physical misconduct or other abuse is the first step in identifying nursing home neglect.
How to Spot Signs of Neglect
There are a multitude of signs of elder neglect to keep a watchful eye out for. While signs of physical abuse (like injuries or bruising) may be easier to spot, indicators of neglect can include:
- Weight loss or dehydration
- Unclean clothing or living areas
- Depression, withdrawal, or unwillingness to talk
- Anxiety or fearfulness of caregivers
- Other unusual or unexplained behavior
If you think you may be seeing the signs of nursing home neglect, you may want to reference the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index (EASI). The index can provide a list of six questions that can aid in spotting potential neglect.
If you suspect someone you love has been neglected in a nursing home, you should report abuse to Adult Protective Services, which has offices nationwide. You may also want to consult with an experienced injury attorney who can inform you as to the elder laws in your state, and whether your loved one may have an injury claim.