Long-term care and nursing home placement is a common issue faced by many children of elderly parents. While there are many excellent and highly rated nursing facilities in which to place your aging loved one, others may have sub-standard ratings. If your parent is placed in a nursing home and experiences any of the following, you may need to contact an attorney who specializes in elder law to determine if the individual was a victim of nursing home abuse or malpractice:
Decubitus ulcers, or bed sores, occur when excessive pressure is exerted upon an area of the skin. While bed sores often develop over a bony prominence of the body, they can occur anywhere. Nursing home residents who are not turned and repositioned in a timely manner can experience undue pressure on their skin, raising the risk for a decubitus ulcer.
Other factors that may heighten the risk for skin breakdown include poor nutritional and fluid intake, predisposing medical conditions such as diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, and failure to clean the skin after incontinent episodes of urine and stool.
When a nursing home resident wanders away from the facility, it is referred to as elopement. Confused patients sometimes walk out the door in an attempt to go back to their former homes or "go to work." While long-term care facilities have policies and procedures in place for staff to follow in the event of an elopement, the patient who wanders away from the nursing home may be in grave danger if not found and returned quickly.
Certain patients are considered high risk for elopement including those with preexisting conditions such as dementia, mood disorders, or psychiatric conditions. Those taking certain medications may also be at risk for wandering off due to side effects which may impair judgement and increase confusion.
Falls in a nursing home are common, and while some are unavoidable, others may be the direct result of neglect. Patients who slip on wet floors or fall out of beds where side rails should be up may be victims of nursing home neglect. Elderly people may be more prone to hip fractures because of osteoporosis, Alzheimer disease, or side effects from multiple prescription medications. It is common for long-term care facilities to have "fall risk" policies in place such as having patients wear brightly colored wrist bands or making notations in the individual's medical record.
If you believed your loved was a victim of nursing home neglect or experienced any of the above situations, seek out the assistance of an attorney experienced in elder law (such as Edward G. Foster ). If the nursing home is found to be negligent, you may be entitled to receive monetary compensation for pain, suffering, and future medical treatment.