For the family of a nursing home resident, not a day goes by when the specter of nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect is completely absent from the mind. The problem, of course, is that it’s hard to see nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse during family visits. Staff members are always going to be on their best behavior while a family member is present, so how does a family know that their loved one is getting quality care when there is no family member present?
It’s a difficult question to answer. Short of live closed circuit camera video and audio monitoring, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt is impossible.
There are signs of nursing home neglect that a family can look for during visits that can give a strong indication whether further action is necessary.
Listen to your loved one. When a nursing home resident claims staff members are stealing or taking their belongings there may be a tendency to attribute a resident’s accusations on mental deterioration or simple confusion. That may be the case, but not necessarily. Regardless, if your loved one is making verbal accusations against a member of the nursing home staff, that needs to be taken seriously by the nursing home Administration.
Listening with your ears is essential, but you also need to listen with your eyes. Nursing homes have strict regulations with regard to the care and treatment of residents. A recent report from the Illinois Department of Public Health illustrates some of the factors that an observant person can recognize.
At the Mather Pavilion in Evanston, Illinois, a nursing home surveyor issued citations for kitchen staff without properly fitting hairnets, caregivers with dirty fingernails, and other staff for not washing their hands for an appropriate amount of time.
Obviously, an unfit hairnet is not cause for a nursing home neglect lawsuit, but if you have a loved one in a nursing home, these are the kinds of things that you can watch for. Good nursing homes pay attention to the details, and make certain that the employees adhere to standards of proper care and hygiene.
If have a loved one in a nursing home and believe you witnessed these or other signs of nursing home neglect, speak with one of our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers or file a complaint with the Illinois department of public health.