What can a family member do to prevent nursing home neglect?

In a previous post, we discussed a common ailment among nursing home residents: bedsores. These are a category of pressure-induced ulcers on the skin, which can be a sign of neglectful treatment by caregivers.

In this article, we discuss some techniques family members of a nursing home resident can employ to help ensure their loved one is cared for properly.

Know what to look for.

If your loved one has mobility issues, staff should reposition your loved one every two hours, which can help reduce the likelihood of bedsores developing. If you observe any unusual conditions on your loved one’s skin, it could be an indication that they are not being repositioned frequently enough. Pay particular attention to boney areas, such as the knees and heels.

The use of additional padding and supports can also help prevent bedsores. If your loved one has difficulty with movement in the lower extremities, is the nursing staff placing pillows between the resident’s legs to prevent the knees and feet from rubbing together? Are they using pillows to prop up the resident’s heels to prevent the resident’s heels from rubbing together?

Be an advocate.

Many people feel intimidated to ask questions about the type of care their loved one is receiving. But it’s important to advocate on your loved one’s behalf. Be observant to changes in your loved one’s skin, and ask questions about it. Talk to the nurse in charge of your loved one. If they don’t provide you with a satisfactory response, talk to the doctor in charge of your loved one’s care. Encourage medical personnel to order heel pads or any other items you believe would benefit your loved on.

If your loved one is not receiving all of the above forms of care, it is not necessarily a sign of neglect. However, these strategies can help prevent the likelihood of bedsores—which can lead to serious infection or even death. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to be vocal about the type of care you want for your loved on.

If you are concerned that your loved one is receiving improper care, it’s important to consult with an attorney experienced in nursing home neglect to get an analysis of your case – and options to seek justice.

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