Nursing home abuse can come in many aspects, like physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological. But there is one form of abuse that is not as obvious and animated as the others, and that is negligence. If all the other forms of abuse require action, negligence is mostly about inaction, like not giving the hygiene needs of patients and not giving the proper medication for those who require specific health attention, like those with diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
A common aspect of negligence is dehydration and malnutrition, which could have negative effects on nursing home patients.
Dehydration can happen because of many reasons. Maybe the elder is not able to communicate his or her dehydrated feeling because of physical limitations. Maybe the elder is not able to easily access hydrating fluids because he or she has trouble swallowing.
But the worst reason for dehydration is the utter neglect of the medical staff. They should have the medical background to know that elders need to be hydrated and they should track the hydration instances of their patients, especially those who are physically limited.
The most common signs of dehydration include the following:
- Difficulty concentrating and moving
- Dry mouth
- Intense breathing and panting
- Little to no sweating
- Pale skin
Incompetent nursing home staff can potentially lead to malnutrition among the patients. Malnutrition can result from poor rationing of food, inadequate nutrient distribution in meals, and outright neglect to the nutritional needs of the patients.
The most common signs of malnutrition include the following:
- Canker sores
- Flaccid muscles
- Prolonged fatigue
- Tooth decay
- Vision problems
- Weight loss
- Yeast infection
Nursing homes should have the proper medical facilities and the competent staff to ensure that the patients are receiving adequate nutrition. It is also important to hire well-trained individuals to avoid the other forms of abuse, where the patients may sustain unnecessary injuries, complications, and emotional and psychological problems.
You can also help prevent nursing home abuse. Before putting a loved one in a nursing home, inspect the facilities to know if they are adequate for the needs of your loved one and observe how the staff treats patients. If your loved one is already in a nursing home, look for the signs of abuse, such as unexplained wounds, sudden changes in behavior, unwarranted decrease of health condition, and unwarranted worsening of complications.