If you’re like many people, you’ve placed a loved one in a Texas nursing home or assisted living facility because you believed you couldn’t provide adequate care for them. You expected that your parent would be happy and healthy living there. What you didn’t expect was an onslaught of physical abuse.
Don’t expect help from Texas officials
Although the state of Texas requires nursing homes and other skilled care facilities to go through a regular review process for licensing, many things can slip through the cracks and go unnoticed. Elder abuse is often subtle, unlike violations for cleanliness, staffing and other requirements. What’s more, the Office of the Inspector General in the Federal Department of Health and Human Services indicates that many government agencies aren’t doing enough to prevent nursing home abuse. Thus, it’s up to the families of those residents to look out for their best interests.
What signs point to possible abuse?
Nursing home abuse can take many different forms. Familiarize yourself with these signs that may indicate possible neglect:
• Unexplained confusion, disorientation, drowsiness or excessive sleep due to possible overmedication
• Incontinence and skin breakdown due to lack of toileting help
• Decline in mobility
• Poor personal hygiene
• Unexplained broken bones, dislocations, bruises or scratches
• Dehydration or malnourishment
• Development of bedsores, open wounds or frequent urinary tract infections
• Unexplained falls or accidents
• Isolation and withdrawal, showing a lack of interest in activities
• Unexplained agitation, anxiousness, fearfulness or guilt
Determining if you have a case
Many of the signs listed above can have legitimate reasons, especially if your loved one is in failing health; however, others may not. Often, people only have a gut feeling that something is not right with their mother’s or father’s care. Your loved one may not be able to express himself or herself properly. Consulting an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse can help you determine whether abuse or neglect has occurred and what steps you could take for resolution of a possibly dangerous situation.