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Is something causing you to suspect nursing home neglect?

Perhaps, you've recently helped your elderly parent transition into nursing home residence. Then again, maybe your loved one has a been a resident at a particular facility for some time now. Either way, as an adult child of an Ohio nursing home resident, you no doubt understand what it's like to worry about your parent's well-being, especially if you can't visit as often as you'd like.

There are many experienced, compassionate and highly skilled care providers in nursing homes throughout the state and across the country. Sadly, however, there are also incidents that result in injury or illness to patients because of neglect or abuse. That's why it's critical that you investigate any issue or cause for concern that arises that makes you worry about your loved one's safety or health.

Determining whether a symptom is typical or not

As many Ohio nursing home patients experience, your loved one may be showing signs of mental decline, especially if a doctor has diagnosed him or her with dementia or other mental illness. In such circumstances, it would not be unusual to find your loved one swaying or rocking in his or her seat or exhibiting other nervous behavior that suggests he or she is feeling anxious or fearful. 

Keep in mind, however, that many of these symptoms can also be signs of nursing home negligence or abuse. Even if you have witnessed your loved one acting in a particular way on other occasions, it's always best to make sure there are no other underlying causes for his or her restlessness, fright or odd behavior.

Physical symptoms that should definitely cause concern

What if you arrive for a visit with your loved one and notice that he or she has a bruise or a swollen or inflamed head, face or other body part? If you ask a caregiver what happened and the answer does not sound logical or accurate, do not hesitate to ask to speak with an administrator to further inquire about the injury.

Common signs of nursing neglect or abuse include bed sores, sprains or fractures, lacerations or contusions, and rectal or vaginal bleeding, as well as burns or soreness to the touch on any body part.

Abuse may or may not be immediately apparent

The aging process, mental illness and numerous other issues can cause your elderly parent to feel unwell or to show signs of poor health. Physical, emotional or sexual abuse may result in recognizable symptoms or may remain unnoticeable for some time. This is one of many reasons it is best to stay closely connected to your loved one, especially if you're often unable to visit him or her in person.

Nursing negligence and abuse are unacceptable. Shortage of employees, long work hours or worker fatigue are issues that may understandably cause stress among licensed care providers. However, such issues are not excuses to neglect or abuse a patient. Reaching out for support to investigate any issue causing you concern may be the first step toward keeping your loved one and others alive and safe.

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