Families in Pittsburgh who have to make the difficult decision to put an elderly loved one in a nursing home generally trust the nursing home to provide appropriate supervision and care of its new resident. Most Pennsylvania families would not think of giving less than the best medical care possible to their aged relative.
However, it is still important for families to be on guard for some obvious signs of nursing home neglect. Noticing these warning signs early can protect their loved one's health and well-being and, in extreme cases, even be what saves their loved one's life.
The first thing a family can look for is how well both their patient and the facility is "groomed." One of the first signs that a nursing home staff is too busy to handle all of their patients is when a patient starts looking as if its been awhile since they last had their teeth or hair brushed or their nails trimmed. In a similar vein, a nursing home building should be clean looking and, as much as possible, clean smelling.
In more serious cases, a family might notice that there are some signs of a person not getting enough to eat, such as unexplained weight loss when the person is already not overweight. It is unfortunately too common for staff simply not to recognize that a person is either not getting fed or is not able to eat the food provided. Similarly, a person who loses the ability to walk at all or as much as he or she could, is possibly neglected.
Finally, it is important for a family to take notice of any physical injuries or emerging mental health problems in their loved one, as this could be a sign of either outright abuse or even just a failure on the facility's part to prevent falls and other injuries.
Unfortunately, sometimes nursing home neglect, even if caught early, can have a long-lasting detrimental effect on the resident. If a resident was harmed by nursing home neglect, his or her loved ones may want to consult an attorney, to learn more about their rights in such situations.