Identifying Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect during holidays may not be a pleasant thought when planning on visiting a loved one in a skilled nursing facility. It might seem such unpleasant observations/ topics shouldn’t mar what is supposed to be a festive time.
Still, our Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury attorneys would urge loved ones to consider at least taking a moment to learn about potential red flags, given that:
- Residents get more visitors over the holidays and for longer, so issues you may not have noticed before may become more glaring;
- Staffing can be notoriously in flux this time of year;
- A Kaiser Health News report released earlier this year showed nursing home star-based ratings issued by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare services grossly overestimated staffing levels (and low staffing/ staffing volatility has a directly adverse impact on quality of patient care);
- An increasing number of for-profit nursing homes – a shift from the non-profit model of previous decades – has left these facilities increasingly ripe for corruption impacting patient care. Consider the case of ManorCare, the second-largest nursing home chain in the U.S. with many facilities in Florida, where investors are accused of extracting $1.3 billion from the corporation – a private equity firm already racking up an alarming spike in health code violations – leaving the company without enough resources to provide for patients and ultimately resulting in its bankruptcy earlier this year, according to a Washington Post investigation. Patients in Florida and other states suffered overdoses from medication errors, bedsores from lack of regular repositioning, broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
Of course, these perils aren’t exclusive to the late winter months, but this is the time of year when families may have more time to take notice of it and when erratic staffing can lead to serious problems.
How to Identify Nursing Home Neglect During Holidays
Although you can’t be expected to memorize all statutes and standards pertaining to care of Florida nursing home residents, there are several red flags you can watch for to identify possible Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect during holidays. Those include:
- Poor personal hygiene. Nursing home staffers are expected to aide with personal hygiene for patients who for whatever reason are unable to themselves. This includes things like making sure they’re freshly dressed each morning, brushing their teeth twice daily, clipping their nails, bathing them, combing their hair and more. A nursing home patient who is being neglected may appear unkempt and dirty. This often occurs when nursing homes don’t have enough staff to maintain necessary hygiene routines.
- Living conditions that are unsanitary. When you’re looking for evidence of nursing home neglect during holidays, take a look around at the overall cleanliness of the place. Are the floors clean? What about the bedding and clothing? Do the nurses, LPNs, LVNs and CNAs wash their hands before caring for your loved one? Take a peak in the kitchen – do you notice anything glaring? What about the food temperature – is it appropriate? What’s the condition of the bathrooms? Do you spot numerous insects like cockroaches or other evidence of pests, like rat droppings? These could be red flags of a nursing home neglect.
- Weight loss. A patient who has lost a lot of weight could be either battling an infection that isn’t being properly treated or could be suffering from malnutrition or dehydration. One study published in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care revealed roughly 20 percent of nursing home residents suffered from some kind of malnutrition.
- Unexplained injuries. If you notice bruises, welts, broken bones, scrapes, wounds or head injuries that no staffer mentioned to you or that neither they nor your loved one can explain to your satisfaction, this is a big indicator of nursing home neglect and possibly abuse. Much of the time, such injuries are due to falls, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting the average nursing home resident suffers 2.6 falls annually (and it’s one of those things that should really never happen).
If you do identify nursing home neglect during holidays this year, our Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury attorneys can help answer your questions regarding legal options.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Malnutrition in the nursing home, Jan. 2015, Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
More Blog Entries:
Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Injury Lawyer Discusses Problems With Patient Lifts, Transfers, Nov. 14, 2018, Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Injury Attorney Blog