We wish our loved ones to receive good care and company in the nursing homes. These places are supposed to bring ease to their lives. With trained nurses and caregivers available, their medical, physical, and emotional needs are effectively met. However, sometimes the experiences at care homes can prove to be the complete opposite. One of the most common issues at nursing homes is neglect, and it might go unnoticed. To identify and avoid your loved one being a victim of neglect, you should be well aware of its meaning, causes, consequences, and preventions. Let us look deeper at neglect in nursing homes to get greater insight.
What is nursing home neglect?
It can be defined as a form of abuse that happens when a caregiver in a nursing home refuses or fails to provide a basic need to a resident. These needs can be food, shelter, hygiene, clothing, medical care, or anything important for the wellbeing of an old adult. Neglect and improper care can result in serious mental and physical health issues. So, it is important to properly research about a nursing home before admitting your loved ones.
Types of neglect
The most frequent and disastrous form of neglect in nursing homes is medical neglect. It occurs when a caregiver fails to promptly provide a resident with the necessary treatment or medication to ensure that they are being taken care of and no harm comes to them.
This occurs when the nursing home terminates or neglects a provider-patient relationship without providing adequate notice before a reasonable amount of time. The consequence is that your loved ones will not have any arrangements made for the continuity of their care and residence.
Elders despise change. The idea of shifting to a nursing home may itself be anxiety-provoking, and the occurrence of emotional neglect can cause more mental distress. The only activity elders have in a care home is spending time and interacting with other residents. However, this can become impossible for people with mental mobility issues if emotional neglect exists. Forgetting to take a physically impaired resident to their friends or intentionally keeping them away from stimulating activities can all be identified as emotional neglect. As caregivers, it is their responsibility to provide an ear to a resident when they wish to vent and give them opportunities for mental repose and peace.
Neglecting basic needs
Spending days in a facility that neglects basic necessities can be disastrous. It can include the unavailability of good food, timely medicine, clean water, change of clothes, etc.
There are two aspects of hygiene in a nursing home: The cleanliness of the premises and facility and the residents’ hygiene and appearance. If a caregiver is not cleaning the facility or taking care of the resident’s hygiene, it falls under nursing home neglect.
Signs and consequences of neglect in nursing homes
- Bedsores or mobility issues: These issues are an evident sign of neglect. Nursing homes should keep residents physically active and incorporate some type of mobility exercises to avoid bedsores and mobility issues from sitting or lying down all day.
- Psychological issues and stress: Neglect can cause isolation and boredom. If these two feelings remain for a long period, they can lead to depression and anxiety. If your loved one gets angry and irritated too quickly or begins to fear nursing homes and caregivers, they may be facing neglect.
- Malnutrition: Many old adults have dietary restrictions. They can also be picky eaters sometimes. A good nursing home will take care of their health and personal requirements to receive the right amount of nutrition for an active lifestyle. If your loved one is losing an unreasonable amount of weight quickly or is feeling weaker than before, you should investigate it.
- Poor physical hygiene: If your loved one appears to be dirty or wears the same clothes for many days, they may be neglected by their assigned caregiver. Check their dental hygiene as well for a better idea.
At this point, you must be wondering why nursing home staff show all these forms of negligence. Here are a few answers to your questions.
Most nursing homes are packed with residents, so there is an unbalanced ratio of residents to caregivers. It puts all the burden on the existing staff. Overworking can lead to frustration and neglect. They might intentionally not fulfill some duties due to fatigue or simply forget.
Too much to remember
Imagine having to remember bathing schedules, dietary restrictions, specific exercises, and medications for so many different residents. Too much information might be hard to remember.
Caregivers might not have adequate training to take good care of old people. Especially elders with dementia and Alzheimer’s require trained staff to help them with day-to-day activities. Their unavailability can lead to neglect.
What can you do to prevent neglect?
- Visit the nursing home often: This will give the workers the impression that you are involved and interested in your loved one’s wellbeing. They will then be encouraged to pay attention to your dear one.
- Do not let anything slide: If you witness one of the signs of neglect mentioned above, do not let it go. Inquire and investigate about it.
- Observe your loved one: You can notice a lot just by observing your loved one’s physical appearance and behavior around you and the staff. If you see any signs of distress, talk to them about it.
- Believe in your loved one: We often ignore our elder’s remarks because we believe they are unnecessary. However, you must not continue to do this. If your loved one complains about anything in the nursing home, believe it is valid.
- Visit the nursing home off schedule: It is important to do this once in a while. Showing up unannounced will give you a better picture of how the nursing home functions on a normal day. Any extra preparations made for your scheduled visit will not be present, so you will have a better idea.
The safety and security of your loved one in the nursing home should be your top-most priority. It is essential to extensively research nursing homes, see how they treat their residents, check their approval rating, and get feedback from admitted and ex-residents before admitting your loved one. If you come across any kind of negative feedback regarding a particular nursing home, avoid admitting the one you love in it. After all, no one wishes to compromise the happiness and comfort of a loved one for anything.