Nursing home residents are often at the mercy of staff. They depend on caretakers for meals, medicine, and safety. Sadly, their dependence and trust can be exploited. Rather than being cared for, some residents in South Carolina are made victims of abuse and neglect. I therefore want to provide you with three warning signs in an attempt to help keep your loved ones safe:
Burns, Bruises, or Broken Bones
Our seniors should never experience any of these injuries while in the care of a nursing home. However, there is a world of difference between injuries resulting from unforeseeable accidents and those suffered at the hand of an abuser. If you learn that a loved one has sustained harm, investigate. Do not allow the nursing facility to blame your loved one, another resident, or a no-fault accident for the injury without speaking to nurses, supervisors, and potential witnesses.
Offensive Odors and Poor Hygiene
Your loved one is most likely in a nursing facility because they need nurses to care for them. Many of our seniors need help getting to the bathroom, keeping their rooms clean, brushing their teeth, and getting dressed. When nursing home employees stop assisting the patients who depend on them, personal hygiene becomes a major problem. Be on the lookout for soiled sheets, dirty clothes, bed sores, and unsanitary bathroom conditions. If any of these items are present, immediately report them to management and if necessary, DHEC.
Silence and Withdrawal
Our elders are often proud people. They have accomplished a great deal in their lives. They speak with humility; yet a quiet confidence defines them. If your loved one is such a person, you would not expect them to become withdrawn, timid, almost afraid to speak. Likewise, no one would think that such a man or woman would become sluggish and disinterested in life. These changes may be a sign of abuse. If your loved one has been outgoing his entire life, yet now has little to say or do, ask questions.
My job requires me to be more than a litigator. I also try to be a source of information for families. If you have questions about abuse or neglect at a nursing facility, call my Columbia, SC office today for a free consultation. 803-790-2800.