We want the best for our loved ones when they are getting on in years, and so when it comes to the time that we need to put them in a care home, we expect them to be looked after with the best of care. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, there are more and more cases in the news of neglect or abuse in all sorts of care homes, not just elderly ones. And it’s a difficult situation for us to be in as well as your loved ones, because we can feel in a precarious position on how to best tackle the subject if we have any suspicions of neglect. Here is the best way to go about it…
Be Aware Of The Signs
The first thing to do, if you get a suspicion of this is to keep an eye out for the red flags. These can include poor personal hygiene, physical symptoms of a lack of nutrition, such as dehydration which can be manifested by your loved one having difficulty swallowing. There could also be a few injuries that go unexplained, such as broken bones or head injuries, but it’s also important to keep an eye out for smaller signs of bruising such as on their arms. It’s also vital that you keep an eye on their state of mind; depression could be a side effect resulting from neglect.
What Are The Next Steps?
The first step would be to go to the manager of the care home and voice your concerns in person. Before doing this, it would be advisable to build up a wealth of information, just in case there are any particular patterns of neglect, for example, if they argue with the specific carer, or become withdrawn when a specific member of staff that attends to them. If you suspect that it’s the care home in general that is contributing to the neglect, not just a specific person, you should think about raising these issues with your local authority or council. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, you may wish to report this to the police. When speaking to the local council, there is usually an adult safeguarding team, that may undertake an inspection of the home or they may put in place a safeguarding alert. This means that they will monitor the care of your loved one.
The Worst Case Scenario…
Sometimes we can spot the signs too late, or if a mistake like your relative being given the wrong medication, can result in them going to a hospital, or worse, the death of your loved one. In these circumstances, there is likely to be a lot of grief, not to mention the stress in spreading the word so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. One option to pursue would be to make a wrongful death claim via lawyers like McNeely Stephenson, but it’s always the prerogative of the family whether to go down this route to or not. Naturally, we can feel very angry in this instance, but if the care home has managed to get away with this type of neglect for years, it may be a small gesture for other families to feel a sense of redemption.
Neglect in a care home is, unfortunately, all too common. But this is a general overview of how you can go about dealing with it, fingers crossed it would never come into this.