How to Identify Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect happens more often than people know. There are times when nursing home staff will not answer questions and will ignore the needs of the patient. Loved ones can become frustrated by the lack of care their loved one is receiving. If you believe this is happening to your loved one, there are ways to identify nursing home neglect.

There are measures you can take to protect your loved one’s rights, such as becoming a medical durable power of attorney, if you feel the patient requires assistance. This enables you to make medical decisions for the patient and to help fight for their rights. As a power of attorney, a nursing facility or other type of care giving facility would have to release medical information to you. Rules and regulations at both the state and federal level are in place to protect patients. This includes Colorado nursing home regulations. The rules and regulations will mandate staffing levels and other guidelines to regulate how a nursing facility is supposed to operate. If the nursing facility is not meeting the standards set in the guidelines, it could indicate neglect.

At times, neglect can be well hidden; however, nursing homes are required to do assessments. Among other information, it keeps track of the job duties assigned to particular nurses. Medical durable power of attorneys have access to this information. You can also monitor call lights to determine how long it takes for a nurse to respond to your loved one’s call for assistance. Observe whether there are strong odors, which may be present if a patient is left lying or sitting in their own fecal matter or urine. Other indications of neglect to watch for include: a patient who loses a lot of weight suddenly or a person who appears depressed or has a sudden mood change.

There are other ways to discover whether neglect is occurring or likely to occur at a particular facility. People are required to report elder abuse to the County Department of Social Services. These reports are available to the public. If there are frequent reports made about a nursing facility, it’s a red flag. The reports may show that patients fall frequently or nurses don’t respond to call lights, which indicates that patients’ needs are not being met. The facility will be investigated after each report is made.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out who is in charge and what care and treatment the doctors and nurses will provide for the patient. Follow up to see whether the loved one did receive the promised treatment. If you suspect that a loved one is being neglected, contact an attorney immediately.

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