You may have thought long and hard before deciding that a nursing home setting would be best for your elderly parent. You may have wanted to provide the much-needed care yourself, but with a job, kids of your own and other obligations, you worried that you would not be able to care for your parent properly. Though it was a hard decision to make, you ultimately helped your parent move into a nursing facility.
Of course, you likely still have concerns about your parent’s care, even under the supervision of professionals. Nursing home abuse and neglect is not uncommon, and you want to do your part to ensure that your parent’s care does not fall to the wayside. Fortunately, you can take certain steps during your visits to evaluate your loved one’s care and, hopefully, stay ahead of any abuse before serious illness or injury occurs.
What can you check regularly?
Though it is certainly the staff’s responsibility to ensure that your parent receives the necessary care, you may feel a sense of obligation as a relative to double-check that care. Some details you may want to check when you visit your parent include the following:
- Note whether your parent has lost weight, and try to make visits during mealtimes to ensure that your parent is eating and getting any help he or she needs to eat.
- Monitor toilet use and look for signs of incontinence. Also, check that your parent can easily receive help going to the bathroom if needed.
- If your parent uses an adult diaper, check for signs of rash or redness that indicate infrequent changes that could point to neglect. You may also want to determine whether the use of a diaper is necessary or if the staff uses a diaper for their own convenience rather than helping with bathroom visits.
- Look for pressure sores on various parts of the body where such sores commonly occur, like elbows, heels, tailbone area and other bony areas. If your parent needs help turning over in bed but staff do not move him or her regularly, these sores could develop and cause serious health problems.
Depending on your parent’s exact situation and the facility where he or she stays, you may want to take other steps to monitor the care received. Do not be afraid to ask questions or voice concerns should they arise. After all, your parent may need you to advocate for him or her.
What if you recognize signs of abuse or neglect?
Unfortunately, even if you do your best to monitor your loved one’s care, it is possible for abuse or neglect to occur. If you notice concerning signs, always keep your parent’s best interests in mind, even if that means removing him or her from the facility. If your parent suffered harm due to abuse or neglect, you may also want to speak with a New Mexico attorney experienced in handling such cases, in order to seek justice for your parent.