New York has many nursing home facilities to choose from, and chances are, when it came time for you to find one for your aging mother or father, you likely spent several weeks or months researching the ones in your area before making a final decision as to which option best suited your family's particular needs. It can be a very emotionally upsetting experience coming to terms with the fact that your parent needs to take up residence in a nursing facility.
Just as parents often lament how quickly time has passed when they witness their grown children raising children of their own, it may seem like just yesterday that you were a child, playing ball with your dad in the backyard or taking a family vacation to the beach. Fast forward to the moment when you realized your mother or father was no longer able to live independently; it was probably an emotionally difficult time for you and your family.
What if something does not seem right?
Even though you may have been fairly confident that you and your family had chosen a good nursing home facility, since you've been going to visit your parent there, you may have noticed a few things that are causing you concern. Sadly, nursing home abuse is prevalent in many areas these days, so it's crucial to remain alert and observant to help ensure your parent's safety and well-being. If any of the following signs are present in your parent's day-to-day life, you may want to further investigate the situation:
- Un-kept surroundings or appearance: An elderly patient in a nursing home is not expected to look like someone about to step on the red carpet in Hollywood; however, if your parent appears disheveled when you visit or as though he or she is wearing dirty clothes or has not bathed or showered in some time, it is definitely a cause for concern. Even if your mother or father is unable to bathe independently, a staff member should be attending to his or her needs. The same goes for the room where your parent stays, as well as the overall condition of the facility: Unclean surroundings or obvious health hazards should immediately be reported.
- Injuries that aren't sufficiently explained: Nursing home officials should make you immediately aware of any mark, laceration, sprain or other wound or injury that your parent suffers. If you visit your parent and notice an injury, and are not satisfied with the answers staff members provide when you inquire, you can take the next step by requesting further investigation.
- Continual loss of weight: If your parent usually has a good appetite and does not have any adverse health condition that is preventing him or her from eating solid foods, and you notice a significant weight loss, it may be a sign that nursing staff is not providing proper nutrition to your loved one.
In addition to these concerning factors, if your parent seems irritable, withdrawn or afraid, you may have a case of nursing home abuse on your hands. It's tragic when innocent, helpless victims fall prey to danger or harm at the very hands of their caretakers. Although it may be difficult to look past your sorrow and anger in such circumstances, there are steps you can take to seek justice on behalf of your loved one.
You can access outside support
Many New York residents tap into resources in their communities to help them get to the bottom of possible nursing home abuse situations. An experienced personal injury attorney is a great asset to have to help investigate your suspicions and pursue legal accountability, if warranted.