Having a loved one in a California nursing home can be a relief and a worry at the same time. If your aging family member or loved one is unable to live independently due to an injury or mental health condition and transitions to a full-time nursing facility, you might feel relief because you know that you cannot be there to care for your parent around the clock. On the other hand, concerns about nursing home abuse might cause you to worry.
It takes a lot of time and effort to secure housing in a nursing home for a loved one. You no doubt asked a lot of questions as you toured various facilities to find one that fit your parent’s needs, budget and preference. Even after your mother or father has moved into a nursing home, there are several things to keep in mind that can help you identify possible abuse.
Look for changes in your loved one’s personality or ability to function
The natural aging process, as well as any number of other issues, can result in changes in your parent’s disposition, appetite or overall health condition. However, some changes suggest that there might be an underlying cause that has to do with neglect or abuse. The following list shows red flag issues that are cause for further investigation:
- Your loved one was fully mobile when he or she moved into a nursing home but has since become immobile.
- He or she looks disheveled or often smells of urine or feces.
- A substantial weight loss is cause for concern, especially if your loved one often complains of thirst or hunger.
- You suspect a medication overdose because your loved one seems disoriented, confused or is excessively drowsy or always sleeping.
- Bed sores are another concerning issue.
While certain health conditions or aging can cause some of these same problems, it is always best to request a meeting with nursing home officials if you have concerns about your family member’s well-being.
If nursing home officials give unsatisfactory answers
Perhaps you have inquired about a bruise, bed sores or some other issue that’s concerning to you regarding the care your loved one is receiving in a California nursing home, and you’re not satisfied with the explanations and answers officials have provided.
There have been many cases in the past where family members of nursing home residents have reported concerns to local law enforcement or patient advocates in order to further investigate a troubling situation. Because substandard care can place your loved one at risk for severe injuries, including some that could be fatal, you have a right to expect nursing home staff to act in accordance with state laws and accepted safety standards and to answer for any behavior that falls outside of those parameters.