After a lifetime of providing for the needs of their families, giving love and making sacrifice for those who they have cared about, our elderly really do deserve much better care than they have been receiving at many facilities. Nursing home abuse is a topic that few people like to talk about and most people would prefer to believe that it doesn’t happen to their loved ones. Each time a story is aired on the news that details the horrible treatment that has been given to an elderly person; our gut reaction is to assure ourselves that the nursing home we chose for our loved ones is better. But is it?
St. John’s Place
St. John’s place is a nursing home that is in St. Louis County that may appear no different than most other nursing homes in the area. The facility is receiving attention lately due to two separate incidents involving patients under its care this month. Police were investigating the fall of an 82 year old woman who suffered severe injuries in the fall. Criminal charges may be filed against the nursing home and the story was featured on the news— prompting a viewer to investigate the home even further because her own family member was a patient there.
After looking into the level of care that her mother-in-law was receiving, Gail Drmacich was in for a few surprises. She noticed that her mother-in-law had bruises all over her arm and wondered if they may have been from a fall that the nursing home failed to report to her. The injured arm eventually turned green and Gail demanded that an ambulance be called. It took the nursing facility two hours to meet her demands and her mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital with a fractured elbow and a separated shoulder.
How to tell if Your Loved One is in Good Hands
It does not matter if the nursing home that you have trusted your loved ones’ care to has the best reputation in the area— nursing home abuse can happen anywhere. As family members, we need to be more active in the lives of our loved ones so that we can be certain they are being cared for. Visit your family member often and make sure that he or she is not showing signs of malnutrition or dehydration, which will be evident through abnormal weight loss and changes in mood or confusion. If you notice during a visit that your family member has any symptoms of a medical condition that were not present during your last visit, investigate.
Nursing homes tend to hide what happens to their patients due to fear of litigation, so you cannot always trust the story that you are given by the nurse or staff member who is responsible for your family member’s care. The presence of bruises, change in behavior or mood and symptoms that mimic dementia can all be signs that your loved one is being neglected. If he or she is confined to a bed, make sure that there isn’t a presence of bed sores and demand medical care immediately if you suspect that something is wrong.
It is easy to deny the possibility that the nursing home we have chosen for our loved ones is responsible and dedicated to their care. We would like to believe that we made the right decision by placing our family members in the homes that care for them. However, we need to be alert and aware of how our loved ones are being treated because it benefits them more to admit we were wrong than to hold onto the thought that we made the right choice. Do not wait to see your loved one’s nursing home featured on the nighttime news to investigate whether or not he or she is receiving quality care and respect.
Deciding when to move forward with legal action after an injury in a nursing home
If you are concerned about the care of a loved one in a nursing home, you may wish to contact your state’s department of health who can conduct an investigation into the matter. If the matter is truly of a life threatening nature, you may wish to to contact the local police and paramedics. Consulting with a nursing home attorney may be appropriate if the matter involves negligent care of the facility. An attorney who prosecutes nursing home abuse can advise you and your family of your legal options and may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home on your behalf.