You want your parents to enjoy security, safety and high-standard care when they move into a nursing home or assisted living facility. You may also be aware of the possibility of abuse and neglect at the hands of your loved one's caretakers. Here are a few issues to look for:
- Significant emotional/behavioral changes (withdrawn, uncommunicative, anxious, depressed, fearful, agitated)
- Significant physical changes (weight loss, bruises, pressure ulcers, tears in the skin, malnourishment, dehydration)
- Sudden mood swings
- Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns
- Nursing home staff cannot or will not answer your questions about physical/mental/emotional changes
- Nursing home staff does not think there is a problem and does not make an effort to remedy whatever is causing the physical/emotional changes
- Your loved one appears agitated, afraid or withdrawn when nursing home staff is present
- Your loved one says they do not want to be around a specific staff member
- The nursing home appears understaffed, disorganized, unclean or poorly managed
Of course, all of these symptoms and changes could be explained by other things, such as health conditions, disease and age-related mental changes. Therefore, these things aren't proof of nursing home abuse. Nonetheless, it is very important to be aware of physical, emotional and behavioral changes. Even if it isn't indicative of abuse or neglect, your loved one may have developed a health issue requiring care or attention.
Trust your gut. There's a lot to be said for trusting your instincts. If you have a bad feeling when you visit your loved one or pick up on a sense of uneasiness, pay attention to that feeling. Drop by at unexpected times and unexpected days to get a sense for what goes on. Ask the staff what the plan is to address pressure sores, malnutrition, weight loss, etc. Ask what caused the physical changes.
If you think your loved one is in danger, consider calling 9-1-1, local law enforcement and/or adult protective services. Call our experienced Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at 312-263-0771. We handle these cases and will tell you what your options are for protecting your loved one.