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How to spot nursing home neglect in your elder loved one

It is a difficult concept for many Washington state residents to come to terms with: the possibility that their elder is suffering from negligence in the nursing home. If you are particularly observant, the signs may be clear, but often they slip through the cracks. Some of the signs can be attributed to the natural process of aging, making it even more challenging to spot nursing home neglect.

Even the most trusting individual will probably see these signs eventually; however, it may be too late to prevent serious injury or illness. If your elder loved one resides in a nursing home, you should never close your mind to the possibility of neglect. Further, you should become familiar with the signs of such neglect so that you have the power to spot possible negligence at its earliest occurrence.

Be watchful for following issues:

-- Poor personal hygiene, body odor, dirty clothing and lack of basic personal care

-- Unexplained and sudden weight loss

-- Signs of dehydration such as cracked lips and reduced urine output

-- The presence of untreated bedsores

-- Reoccurring urinary tract infections

-- Increased confusion or drowsiness, which could indicate overmedication

-- Sudden displays of anxiousness, agitation and fearfulness

-- Sudden lack of interest in activities

-- Signs of withdrawal or isolation

-- The presence of unexplained injuries including broken bones and open wounds

What can you do if you suspect nursing home negligence or even abuse is harming your elder? Contact the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services right away. You should also consider talking with a personal injury attorney about seeking damages for your elder family member.

Source: Care Pathways, "10 Warning Signs of Elderly Neglect or Abuse in a Nursing Home," Clare Absher RN, BSN, accessed May 05, 2016

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