People who suspect that a loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in a nursing home should report it immediately. In Ohio, aging adults and their families can turn to the Department of Aging for resources and services.
Mistreatment in a nursing home can result in injury, and injuries can cause suffering in many ways. One is the obvious financial burden of medical bills. Other effects are harder to quantify such as the pain, mental anguish and emotional trauma. Inadequate care in a nursing home can lead to serious consequences.
Nursing home residents’ relative frailness and mobility issues make them susceptible to falls. When nursing home facilities are poorly lit or cluttered, patients may trip and fall. Falls can result in fractures or broken bones, which can lead to bed confinement. Complications may end in death.
Certain illnesses and infections tend to be common in nursing homes. Contagious diseases such as influenza often spread quickly if common areas are not properly sanitized. Gastroenteritis and urinary tract infections can be common. Respiratory issues can lead to pneumonia, which is particularly dangerous as patients age.
Residents confined to their beds or to wheelchairs can develop bedsores or pressure sores. These sores are most common in bony regions such as heels and the tailbone area. Once established, they are extremely difficult to treat. Small tender spots can quickly progress into large wounds of dying tissue.
Many nursing homes operate with minimal staffing, and each patient may require a complex medication regimen. This can lead to dosage errors. Additionally, workers may administer expired medication, give the wrong medicine or inadvertently skip doses.
Nursing home negligence can be a serious problem. Patients and their families must speak out to help stop it and hold providers accountable.