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Keeping a loved one in a nursing home safe, part 2

In our last post we focused on things to watch out for involving nursing home staff that could signal that a loved one is not receiving the level of care to which he or she is entitled. We pick up this post with other warning signs to be aware of.

At times, Pittsburgh area residents will decide upon a nursing home for their loved one based on the assurance that certain things at the facility are in the process of changing for the better. Since saying that a change or upgrade will occur is not the same as actually making it happen, it is important to follow up on such assurances. While it is possible that the reasons for the delay are legitimate , in other cases it is possible that the facility is just doing what it needs to in order to avoid being shut down.

Sometimes the signs that something is wrong are physical. Food and liquids are two of the most basic needs for any human. When they are withheld, it usually becomes obvious quite quickly. If it is suspected that a loved one is either dehydrated or starving, it is important to act quickly to make sure the problem is rectified before too much harm is inflicted.

Just as residents should be provided nourishment on a regular basis, so too should their other needs be attended to in a timely manner. Patient call lights that go unanswered and phones that no one picks up is a sign that the facility is understaffed and may be experiencing other issues. The failure of a care provider to respond to a call in a timely manner could lead a resident to do things that he or she is not physically able to handle, which could lead to an injury or even death.

While it is inevitable that there will be a transition period after someone has moved into a nursing home, it is important to watch for lingering changes in either the emotional or physical state of your loved one. If noticed, whether these changes are due to medical issues or treatment from facility workers, they should further be explored as they could be a sign of nursing home neglect.

Source: U.S.News & World Report, "9 Warning Signs of Bad Care," Kurtis Hiatt, Feb. 26, 2013

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