It’s never easy to have a loved one enter a nursing home, and to ensure they are receiving proper care, it’s important to stay involved. Researching the facility before admission is the first step to finding the right nursing home for your loved one. After admission, visitors should be vigilant in looking for any signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Indications that patients are receiving substandard care or being neglected include:
- Significant weight loss and/or dehydration;
- Poor personal hygiene;
- Injuries or bruises from a fall due to lack of supervision or assistance; and
- Wandering or elopement – a patient repetitively moving throughout the home or being able to leave the home unattended.
Most nursing home neglect is the result of insufficient or poorly trained staff. Often there is no malicious intent behind nursing home neglect, but victims can suffer significantly, and may not be able to communicate problems to their loved ones.
Recognizing neglect before issues become severe or even life-threatening is critical. Residents with frequent and regular visitors have a better chance of being identified as a victim of neglect before the situation becomes critical.
Residents of nursing homes should enjoy the same comfort and constitutional and civil rights as they would at home. Because of their vulnerability, residents are protected by a specific nursing home law, which states that all residents in a nursing home are entitled to receive quality care and live in an environment that improves or maintains the quality of their physical and mental health. Colorado has enacted a series of laws protecting the elderly, including:
- Suspected cases of elder neglect or abuse occurring in a nursing home must be reported within 24 hours to the appropriate law enforcement agency or county department;
- Suspected cases of financial exploitation must be thoroughly and promptly reported and investigated; and
- Specific abuses of the elderly are criminalized and given priority on the court’s docket.
Contact a Colorado nursing home attorney should you suspect your loved one’s rights have been violated.