Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Neglect of Loved One in a Nursing Home Demand Action

Many of my blog posts result from a conversation with someone or a situation of that I have been made aware. Yes, it has happened, again. Neglect of an individual and the countless excuses of family members as to why action is absent. Forgive me for being blunt…when you decide to place a loved one in a nursing home, into the care of a stranger, you cannot go on your merry way thinking personalize and compassionate care will go on after you leave the building. Yes, we hope this is the case! Yes, we pray this is the case! But when you discover something abnormal is occurring, action is REQUIRED!

Tell-tell signs that your loved one is receiving sub-standard care.

A dirty face. Dirty nails! Absent mouth care! Unchewed food in the mouth! Body odor! Toenails overgrown. Skin breakdown! Bedsores! Why do bedsores occur on a loved one who cannot turn and roll themselves? If pressure points on the body are not relieved, circulation is impeded. The skin has decreased blood flow, and in many elderly, the skin is paper thin and fragile…the recipe for bedsores. Incontinence due to diaper wear and the diaper is not changed often, equate to bedsores. Loved ones being tube-fed must be checked to ensure the line is open, otherwise, nutrition is infrequent or not at all. The roommate of this resident notified the staff that the feeding pump was beeping and was told to “mind their business.” The result of an array of missteps resulted in another hospitalization of the loved one, now unresponsive.

Nursing home abuse statistics are real and have increased since the pandemic. It is inexcusable that millions of elders are abused every year. It’s an unfortunate reality! Sadly, vigilance in nursing homes is required. Keeping a watchful eye for any signs of abuse and neglect and then reporting what you see (even if it’s suspected) are the best ways to protect your loved one.

I don’t have the answer to the nursing homes that neglects residents. I don’t have the answer for staff dynamics and incompassionate workers. I have shared with this family information on how to report the nursing home. If you need to report sub-standard care in a nursing home, JUST DO IT!

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, if you have a loved one that cannot speak to tell you what is happening to them when you are not there, consider that family, put aside the excuses, and come together to care for a loved one at home. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you were neglected? Ask yourself, who do you want to care for you when you can no longer care for yourself…. A loved one, or a stranger? Be safe! Be Well!

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Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.