When a loved one becomes too ill or injured to care for himself or herself, the situation may require that he or she be temporarily or permanently placed in a nursing facility. Many nursing home staff members are caring, considerate and professional individuals. These dependable staff members are an asset to society and should be commended for their hard work.
However, not all nursing home employees are professional and considerate caregivers. The current statistics indicating how many patients are affected each year by nursing home abuse prove this fact. Therefore, it is critical for the residents’ loved ones to both stay alert to signs of abuse and to advocate on their behalf if any of these signs become evident.
If the resident seems malnourished, dehydrated, does not have his/her hygiene properly attended to or suddenly loses his or her independence, it is important that you start advocating for your loved one before the situation becomes critical.
In terms of advocacy, it is often beneficial to communicate directly with the patient’s caregivers before speaking with nursing facility administration. If these caregivers do not appropriately respond to your concerns, then by all means take your concerns to the administration. If administration then fails to respond, it may be advisable to seek experienced legal advice on this situation. By advocating through the “ranks,” you give your loved one the best chance of obtaining help immediately. However, if the situation presents an emergency, seek whatever help you need in the moment.