Tips to Prevent Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Placing a loved one in a nursing home can be very emotionally draining and demanding. Once you and your loved one have completed your due diligence in researching the possibilities, you want to feel confident that your loved one will not face negligence or elder abuse in the home.

While public records and personal references offer some insight into the reputation of the nursing home, any facility in Texas and throughout the U.S. is susceptible to neglect.

Following are six guidelines for you and your loved one to help prevent elder abuse:

  1. A comprehensive assessment just prior to admission will help give a baseline for your loved one’s health. Be aware of any changes in behavior, attitude, and needs during the initial transition. Keep lines of communication open.
  2. Develop a relationship with the staff at the nursing home. This not only allows the staff to know your loved one better, but also lets the staff know that you will be attentive to any changes that may develop.
  3. Vary your visitation. Go to see your loved-one different days of the week at different times of the day.
  4. Monitor the care that is being given. Hold the facility accountable to following the initial care plan and check records regularly to ensure your loved one is properly cared for.
  5. One of your most important rights is to be able to express concerns or suggestions for your loved one without fear of retaliation on your loved one. Always follow proper protocol in implementing changes and document any concerns.Contact The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to file a complaint if necessary.
  6. Learn the signs of elder abuse:
  • Overmedication – drowsiness, dry lips and mouth, drooling or blank stares
  • Unexplained bruises or scratches
  • Poor hygiene
  • Significant weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Bedsores or skin breakdown

If you suspect neglect or abuse in or around the Austin area, immediately contact a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer at Shaw Cowart LLP. We want to help you, your loved one and future nursing home patients by holding the caretakers responsible.