If you have a loved one or family member living in a Houston nursing home or other type of long-term care facility, you may worry that he or she could fall victim to abuse.
It’s a terrible thing to contemplate an elderly, vulnerable person being abused by those entrusted with providing his or her care. But the countless online videos of such abuses are all too real.
Common causes of nursing home abuse
There are multiple reasons that caregivers give for abusing their patients, but one reason is completely within the facility’s power to change: understaffing.
While it’s certainly not a good reason to abuse sick senior citizens, overworked nurses, aides and others can get frustrated when there aren’t enough staff members on each shift to meet the residents’ needs.
Exhausted caregivers can be run ragged trying to meet the needs of bedridden patients. Dementia patients can be especially demanding because they can’t remember from minute to minute that someone already adjusted their bed or filled their water pitcher.
Who is most at risk?
In a nursing home setting, those least able to help themselves are typically the most likely to experience neglect, which is a counterpart of abuse.
Not all abuse is intentional. If a harried and hurried staff member is trying to get all the residents fed before it’s time for medications and bed, bedridden and no-longer-verbal residents will be the ones most likely to get skipped, especially if those residents must be spoon-fed their meals.
As a result, these patients can wind up with infected bedsores. They can get dehydrated, malnourished and lose weight. Some may go on to develop pneumonia, which is frequently fatal to elderly nursing home patients.
If your loved one died suspiciously while in a nursing home, it may be worthwhile to have your attorney check into the staffing numbers in the days and weeks preceding his or her demise.