Holidays are a busy time of year. However, it is important not to overlook the people in your life that are the most vulnerable. Nursing home abuse and neglect are prevalent in facilities throughout Missouri and Kansas. During the holidays, abuse and neglect in nursing homes may increase. Families need to be aware of the possibility of abuse and neglect during the holidays so they can watch for signs their family member is not receiving adequate care.
Our Kansas City nursing home abuse attorney works with family members to hold nursing homes and long-term care facilities liable when residents suffer harm or injury from neglect and abuse. If you have questions about nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus at 816-203-0143 or through our website for a free consultation with our experienced injury lawyer in Kansas City.
Nursing Home Staffing Shortages In Kansas and Missouri
Nursing home abuse and neglect increase during the holidays for several reasons. Staffing shortages are one reason nursing home neglect may increase during the holidays.
Staff members may be on vacation, so fewer employees are available to care for the residents. Also, the nursing home may hire additional employees to cover shifts who may not have the experience or skills necessary to care for residents. A nursing home may neglect to perform adequate background checks in a rush to cover shifts during the holidays.
When the nursing home has staffing shortages, residents may not be bathed or changed, resulting in infections. In addition, if there are not enough staff members during meal times, patients who have trouble feeding themselves or drinking may suffer from dehydration or malnutrition.
There may not be enough staff members to move patients from beds to chairs or roll patients over to avoid bedsores. Likewise, residents may try to get out of bed or chairs by themselves because staff members do not reply to requests. This could lead to an increase in falls, resulting in surgeries and hospitalizations.
How Can You Protect Your Loved One From Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?
There are steps you can take to protect your loved one in a nursing home during the holidays. Things you can do to reduce the risk of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Increase visits to the nursing home
- Ask friends and family members to visit. Fresh eyes can be invaluable. Unfortunately, caretakers and immediate family members could become desensitized to signs of abuse and neglect. Having other people visit during the holidays can help spot signs of abuse or neglect in a nursing home.
- Create a checklist for recognizing the signs of abuse or neglect (see the section below for tips to create a checklist)
- Request a copy of a care plan that includes increased monitoring for mental health problems, depression, extended visiting hours, meal plans, physical activity, and medications.
- Increase activity to decrease the risk of depression, isolation, and decline in physical health.
- Ensure your family member has the proper clothing for the season. You may need to purchase sweaters, long-sleeve gowns, and heavier clothing.
If you notice signs of abuse or neglect, talk to the administration. If the matter is not resolved immediately to your satisfaction, request emergency medical care or transfer to a hospital if necessary. You can also contact our Kansas City nursing home abuse attorney for guidance and legal advice.
Checklist for Spotting Nursing Home Abuse During the Holidays
Family and friends visit nursing home residents during the holidays at different times. One of the best ways to detect nursing home abuse and neglect is to visit without warning at odd times of the day. Because holiday schedules are hectic, that is precisely what happens in many families.
You can use this opportunity to watch for signs of elder abuse and nursing home neglect. First, create a checklist for friends and family, so they know what to look for during their visit with a nursing home resident. Then, add the following items for everyone to observe:
- What is the condition of the facility? Is it clean and in good repair?
- Do you smell unpleasant odors, specifically urine or feces?
- Does your family member appear to be groomed? Are they wearing clean, appropriate clothing?
- Do staff members interact with residents?
- Are residents lying in bed, or are they sitting in chairs?
- How do staff members interact with visitors and family members? Are they friendly and responsive to questions and concerns?
- Are there sufficient staff members for the number of patients?
- Do you notice signs of physical abuse (i.e., bruises, lacerations, scratches, broken bones, infections, etc.)?
- Are there signs of neglect, such as bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, isolation, withdrawal, etc.?
- Do you notice signs of restraint?
The National Institute on Aging provides information for checking on nursing home residents during the holidays. They also provide information about nursing home abuse and neglect. Sharing these websites with family and friends can also help them recognize signs of nursing home abuse during the holidays.
Contact Our Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, take steps to protect your loved one. Call 911 if you believe your family member is in immediate danger or requires emergency medical services.
Our Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer will guide you through the process of filing a complaint against the nursing home. Your loved one may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, injuries, medical bills, and other damages.
Call our law office for a free consultation by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form.