How do I identify nursing home abuse?

by | Mar 28, 2020 | Nursing home abuse / neglect, Personal Injury |

Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina, so it’s not surprising that it has the most nursing homes in its metro-area.  At last count, the Charlotte metro area had approximately 84 nursing homes. In addition to the nursing homes, Charlotte is also home to many assisted living and residential care facilities, most of which are located in the cities of Charlotte, Matthews, Huntersville, Cornelius, Mint Hill, and Pineville. Our Charlotte nursing home abuse lawyer can help residents and their families bring claims against these facilities.

What type of conduct constitutes elder abuse or neglect?

Some of the common types of nursing home abuse and neglect include:

  • Dehydration. When an individual does not receive enough water, they are at risk for serious medical events. Older individuals can become confused and irritable, develop low blood pressure and rapid breathing, and become unconscious or delirious. Long-term and severe dehydration can result in seizures, brain swelling, kidney failure, coma, and death.
  • Bedsores. Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores, are not a normal part of aging or living in a long-term care facility. They are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure on a certain part of the body. For elderly individuals in nursing homes, bedsores commonly occur on their heels, ankles, backs of the legs, hips, and tailbone region. This type of injury is a sign an individual is not being taken care of properly. Physicians, nurses, and nursing assistants can prevent pressure ulcers by ensuring patients are kept clean, well hydrated, properly fed, and consistently repositioned.
  • Falls and Fractures. Nursing homes owe a duty to ensure that their premises are safe, and to provide adequate supervision for their residents. Unfortunately, they often fail to meet these obligations. Falls and fractures can be grounds for seeking financial compensation.
  • Malnutrition. Malnutrition can occur in elderly nursing home residents when they are not fed enough. Everyone depends on a healthy, well-balanced diet. However, for residents with medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes, a proper diet is crucial to their care. Malnutrition or improper food can worsen their current medical conditions and lead to additional injuries. Overall, malnutrition is associated with reduced cognitive abilities and mobility. It can make it impossible for residents to care for themselves and lead to death.
  • Improper use of restraints. There are times when physicians, nurses, and assistants must restrain nursing home residents for their own safety. For instance, a restraint may be used to ensure an individual cannot fall out of a wheelchair. However, restraining individuals when it is unnecessary or for prolonged periods of time can be dangerous and harmful. It can lead to physical pain, medical conditions like bed sores, mental anguish and suffering, and death.
  • Positional asphyxia – Positional or postural asphyxia is the condition of an individual not getting enough oxygen due to restraints or the position of their body. Loss of oxygen can lead to brain damage and death.
  • Sepsis. The elderly are more susceptible to sepsis than the general population, and conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease can put nursing home residents at increased risk for this dangerous condition. Fighting sepsis requires prompt attention from knowledgeable caregivers.
  • Medication Errors. Medication errors such as overdose, underdose, and confusing medications can lead to life-threatening situations.
  • Sexual assault. Elderly individuals are at risk for sexual assault because they may have limited mobility, muscle weakness, and decreased mental functioning or communication abilities. All of these issues enable a physically capable person to take advantage of residents who are unable to fight back and may be unable to communicate to other staff what has happened to them.
  • Wrongful Death. Unfortunately, nursing home residents die as a result of abuse or neglect from nursing homes.

What are signs of nursing home abuse or neglect in Charlotte?

Abuse and neglect within nursing homes can be difficult to detect. However, it is not impossible if you know the signs of nursing home abuse. If your elderly loved one is living in a long-term care facility, look out for these red flags:

  • Changes in the mental status of your loved one. This can include depression and anxiety. Your loved one may also stop eating.
  • Your loved one doesn’t want to be left alone with a specific nursing home employee.
  • Your loved one doesn’t appear to be clean. There is a marked difference in their physical appearance from before they entered the facility and now.
  • Your loved one has unexplained weight loss.
  • Your loved one begins to experience emotional outbursts.
  • Your loved one shows signs of dehydration.
  • You notice bruises, cuts, welts, or broken bones.

It is also important to note that these signs don’t always indicate nursing home neglect or abuse, but can be signs of other problems. For instance, dehydration, bedsores, and unexplained weight loss are also symptoms associated with diabetes. However, it is important to look at these signs to determine the type of help that your loved one needs.

If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected, contact a dedicated nursing home abuse neglect lawyer today.  Charlotte nursing home abuse attorney Anthony Burts provides free consultations in cases concerning abuse, neglect, or malpractice in the nursing home or residential care setting. He handles cases in North Carolina, South Carolina and New York.  Contact him at (888) 314-7127 today.