Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) September 12, 2014 - Just as a reader cannot always tell a book by its cover, a family shopping for nursing home care cannot rely solely on a facility’s outward appearances.
“Generally, when a parent needs to be placed in care, most children rely on visual clues they see in a facility itself and as the staff interacts with others. If those two checkpoints meet their approval, they feel they have a quality home that is safe for their loved one. Unfortunately, that is not always the case,” explained Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyer, Michael Smith.
A clean, neat and professional facility is a good sign. Quality homes boast friendly staff and personal care time. But a healthy nursing home facility is built on more than a knowledgeable director and good reviews. “Long-term care nursing facilities spend millions on their exteriors for one reason: first impressions make lasting impressions. If a home director is skilled in body language, he or she knows what issues to skirt and which to promote,” warned Smith.
One employee, good or bad, cannot speak to the universal quality of the staff. Certainly the staff a visiting family member sees on duty may be very caring. However, other individuals come on shift later in the day. They may be abusive, grumpy and poorly trained, working a shift because someone needed to fill the gap – no matter how kind and qualified the rest of the staff may be.
No matter what facility a family selects, they must watch carefully for signals of abuse. Some people in care may not wish to complain of the abuse to family members, and some may not remember something happening at all.
“Commonly, a family may see several physical warning signs,” outlined Smith. “Something that was once very important to the relative, such as a clean appearance, is gone. He or she looks ragged and withdrawn, has lost or gained a lot of weight, or shows signs of dehydration and malnutrition. A victim might display cuts, bruises, welts and scrapes. Rope burns can indicate that your relative is being restrained by the wrists or feet,” Smith detailed.
Watch for signs of emotional abuse just as diligently. For example, a relative, once noted for an outgoing personality, might begin to act out and act up. The elderly may react much as abused children do when trying to cope with abuse – mumbling repetitively, rocking or sucking. If a relative’s living quarters deteriorate, look for signs of abuse in dirty clothing, clearly visible dirt, bug infestations and soiled bedding.
Each state has an elder abuse hotline. Use it. “If you cannot get help right away, you can talk to me. We can stop the abuse,” Smith said.
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