Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Loved Ones in Nursing Homes-You MUSSSST Pay Attention with your Eyes and Nose

Checking in on family and friends is one of the highlights of vacationing in your hometown. I am still blogging on vacation, but it is ending. Somewhat bittersweet. Why? Many things have changed. For sure, nothing has stayed the same. I have a dear friend that has been in a nursing home for several years. I found out she was hospitalized due to some very concerning situations. I will use the word “NEGLECT” in this conversation, a sad reality. Why is it sad? Well, I will tell you.

Placing a loved one under the care of an agency should be the last option and not the first, unless it is the decision of an individual, totally. Regardless, the trust is that care will be provided in an attentive and caring way. Is this always the case? I will let you answer that question. What I will say is that all nursing homes are not created equal. All care in nursing homes is not created equal. But, let me be clear…IT SHOULD BE!!! Does the word neglect come to mind if care is not rendered?

Here are a series of questions that I want you to think about and ponder why I am asking them.

Why does decubitus(bedsores) develop?

Why is hair uncombed and dirty?

Why is food chewed and unswallowed?

Why are teeth unbrushed for days?

Why are nailbeds filled with food particles?

Why are toenails longer than the toes?

Why does the agency smell like urine and feces?

Why is the skin without care?

Why is ear wax caked and hard?

Please be the extra eyes and ears for your loved ones to ensure they receive individualized care. Failure to assess a nursing home resident is a recipe for things to go wrong. Abuse of the elderly is a prevalent problem across nursing home facilities. Unfortunately, it often goes unreported, especially if the family is unaware of any issue.

If you become aware of an elderly person experiencing nursing home neglect, you must notify the proper authorities, potentially saving a life. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, please pay attention. 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. Cynthia J. Hickman

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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.