Signs Of Neglect In Nursing Homes in Las Vegas
One of the biggest fears of having a family member in a nursing home setting is that they won’t receive the care and treatment that they deserve. Unfortunately, even the best facilities here in Nevada have issues with neglect: for example, more than 80% of Las Vegas nursing homes have been cited for violations to standard practice by 2020. Luckily, there are ways to spot the warning signs. Here you will find some of the most common forms of elder neglect and abuse, and the effect that they can have on your loved one.
General Neglect (Negligent Maltreatment)
One of the most common forms of neglect we see in Nevada nursing homes is known as general neglect. This occurs when staff either intentionally or unintentionally do not perform a task that should be done in order to provide the proper care for the resident. This can lead to psychological or physical trauma and have lasting effects on the patient.
One way that this occurs is when the caregiver doesn’t check on the patient at regular intervals, leading the patient to be unable to access their basic needs. This is especially important for patients with mobility issues, who need assistance to reach the washroom or get themselves something to drink. The patient may have fallen or gotten themselves into an uncomfortable position, which can lead to aggravated injuries.
It can also lead to them not getting the things they need in order to live the healthiest life possible. When basic needs aren’t being attended to, it can be assumed that they are not being provided with the necessities:
- water + fluids
- medications on a regular schedule
- proper change of clothes
- emotional companionship
This of course is mentally draining but can have major implications for their overall physical health. Take special note of any complaints they may have about being left thirsty or hungry. This could be a sign that they are being forgotten or intentionally neglected on a daily basis.
There’s also the emotional needs of the patient, since like all people our elders benefit from socializing and mental stimulation. If caregivers neglect to give the patient enough attention during the day, this can speed up their mental and cognitive decline especially if they have serious mental health issues or limited mental capacity already.
Sometimes nursing home caregivers neglect the patient on purpose, but in other cases, it’s because the nursing home is severely understaffed or the staff has not been given sufficient training. This is especially true in Nevada nursing homes which are often rated below the national average. In any case, these are still a violation of the nursing home’s legal duty to your loved one and they can be held liable for any injuries or consequences.
Improper Hygiene Assistance
Failing to provide proper hygiene assistance is another common form of nursing home neglect. Whether the patient requires sponge baths in their bed or is able to bathe with assistance, it is critical that this is done on a regular basis to maintain the health of their skin. In addition to having a regular schedule, the resident has the right to request to be bathed and receive that assistance as needed, within reason. By not providing this care regularly, or when requested, they are putting the health of the resident in jeopardy and leaving the individual to feel unclean and not cared for.
Neglected elders are sometimes left in their own waste for extended periods of time, which can be dehumanizing and bad for their health. This can lead to the development of bed sores, infections, or other skin issues. In the most extreme situations, even these types of infections can lead to death. If your loved one complains of having pain around their buttocks or groin it may be a sign that they are not being cared for in the manner in which they deserve.
Lack of proper hygiene can have a devastating effect on a patient’s mental health, as it could harm their self-esteem and leave them feeling vulnerable and unheard. If you have any concerns that this may be occurring to your loved one you can ask open-ended questions about various routines to get a better idea of what is being done to ensure their hygiene needs are being met appropriately.
Another very common way in which nursing home residents are neglected is that they are not given proper attention when they make complaints against staff or other residents, even in serious cases like abuse. Sometimes staff in these facilities don’t believe the complaints and don’t follow up on the situation, which can lead to further abuse or injury. Some possible complaints from the patient can include:
- not enough visits from the attending staff
- uncomfortable temperature in their living space
- physical or sexual abuse by another resident
- physical or sexual abuse by another staff member
- injury or discomfort
At some times this is due to the patient having a known cognitive impairment, or because the patient requires intensive care. However, every resident in a nursing home facility has the right to be heard and have their concerns investigated. Due to the nature of such a facility, it is not possible for supervisors to see and hear everything at all times.
If your loved one states that they have complained about an issue and haven’t had anything done about it, take note. You may be facing a situation in which residents are being intentionally neglected.
Failure To Report Injury
While the above forms of neglect can all lead to mental and physical harm, one of the most disturbing and dangerous forms of neglect comes when the staff fail to report incidents that may have led (or have already caused) and injury. This can be anything from a slip and fall on the premises to the resident being dropped or hurt while being assisted. The caregivers responsible may be afraid of getting in trouble with their managers and instead keep the incident secret, which can lead to serious complications if an injury is not treated immediately. Complications can include:
- internal bleeding
- concussions and traumatic brain injury (head injuries)
- spine injuries
- mobility issues
- broken bones that improperly heal
Any incident, even if accidental, should be immediately reported by staff to the physician, family members, and other staff as required by law and policy. Failure to do so is a form of elder abuse. What may seem like a minor fall can lead to serious health issues in an elderly individual, so take these incidents seriously. If you find that your loved one has a bruise or other injury that you were not told about it is very likely that they are dealing with some form of neglect. You will want to address this with your loved one and if appropriate, seek legal assistance to hold the nursing home accountable.
No one wants to imagine that their loved one could be mistreated in a nursing home. It is really one of the worst things that could happen. However, with the right knowledge, you have the tools necessary to identify an issue before it becomes dangerous to their health and mental well-being. If you have issues of this nature and do not get a satisfying resolution from the staff, it may be time to contact a neglect and abuse attorney in Las Vegas for advice on how to move forward.
We Can Help You
- Determine if there is neglect or abuse taking place
- Gather concrete evidence of abuse or neglect
- File the necessary paperwork
- Consult with medical experts on the true costs of treatment and long-term care
- See your case through either to trial or to a settlement