As a caregiver, it can be challenging to know when nursing home abuse is occurring. Signs of neglect and abuse may not always be evident at first glance. Abuse can happen in many ways, so caregivers need to stay vigilant and monitor their loved ones close. Here are five tips that will help you prevent nursing home abuse from happening to your loved one!
Closely Monitor Prescribed Medication
Older adults are more likely to be on an array of prescribed medications, leading to adverse effects and addiction. In addition, it puts them at a higher risk for abuse. So pay close attention when your loved one takes their medication, ask about what they take and why watch how quickly the drug is taken and make sure it’s stored correctly to keep out potential thieves or children who may want access.
It’s also vital that you know where all prescriptions are so if any go missing, there will be a record instead of questioning whether someone has hidden something from you because they don’t trust you with information. It could just be that the doctor made a mistake by prescribing two different drugs with similar brand names, so it’s essential to keep track of all prescriptions.
Decrease Social Isolation
Ensure that your loved one has plenty of time to spend with friends, family members and caregivers. Would you mind encouraging them to do activities outside the home, such as taking walks or going out for lunch? You can invite a friend over at least once weekly; even just 15 minutes can help decrease social isolation in an elderly patient recovering from illness or injury.
Ensure they have someone visit their room regularly during mealtimes, so they don’t have to eat alone. It could be a child who lives far away but wants to come and see his parents, a caregiver’s helper volunteer or even another nurse on duty. Having someone available to help patients not to feel like no one cares about them will often make all the difference.
Don’t forget about the importance of pets. Pets are a great way to increase socialization in patients, especially those with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia because they always remember that their pet is waiting for them at home. They may not recall conversations, but with an animal on hand, it doesn’t matter if they can talk and interact – all they have to do is reach out and touch something familiar. Some facilities even provide animals like therapy dogs as part of their therapeutic care programs.
Monitor Your Loved One’s Behaviour and Attitude
Observe your loved one’s behaviour and attitude to check for any signs of change. It could include mood changes, a sudden lack of interest in things they usually enjoy doing, or even unexplained anger. A nursing home is an unfamiliar environment that can be frustrating and disorientating, but if these changes are incredibly abrupt, they may signify something more serious.
Speak with the nurses at the facility about any concerns you have regarding your loved one’s behavior. It will help ensure there isn’t anything going on behind closed doors that needs attention immediately. You can also work with a skilled nursing home abuse attorney who will help you monitor and keep the nursing home on its toes with its services.
If your loved one does exhibit symptoms of abuse (e.g., bruising), then contact police as soon as possible so you can take appropriate action against those responsible before anyone else becomes a victim.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, make sure you check in at least once every few weeks. It will help to ensure that everything is going as planned and address any concerns immediately. When making this visit, ask the nurses if they have noticed anything different with your loved one or any new changes in their health status, for example, weight loss, trouble breathing, sudden mood swings. If the answer is yes to either question, then contact a doctor right away.
Get To Know the Staff
You need to get to know the staff in charge of your loved one. Ask the staff about the day-to-day happenings at the facility and ask for their opinion on what is happening with your parents or loved one’s physical and mental health. There are various ways you can get to know an unfamiliar person, such as asking questions like how many years they have been working there, why they chose this profession and others.
The last thing you want to do is wait until your loved one has been abused or victimized by an unscrupulous nursing operator. The best way to prevent this is by paying close attention to the care services they receive from a trained healthcare professional – not just anyone, even though it might be tempting with so many family members willing to help – who is providing the care.