When we discuss elder abuse, we typically think of nursing home abuse. While seniors are often the victim of abuse in nursing homes, the elderly are also at risk for elder abuse in the hospital. Knowing the risks and signs of abuse is the first step in preventing elder abuse.
Forms Of Elder Abuse or Neglect In Hospitals
Elderly patients are at risk for certain forms of neglect or abuse in hospitals. Forms of abuse older patients are at risk for during a hospital stay include:
- Bed Sores – If an adult cannot reposition himself or herself, pressure ulcers (i.e. bed sores) can form. Bed sores can lead to serious medical conditions if not treated quickly.
- Falls – Seniors are at a high risk for falls. When they are under the influence of medications that can make the drowsy or disoriented, falls become more of a risk.
- Malnutrition – Some elderly patients have problems eating. If someone does not feed them, they may suffer from malnutrition. This can impede recovery, in addition to causing other health problems.
- New Medications – If the medical staff is not careful when administering new medications, elderly patients could have an adverse reaction because of other medications they are taking. Elderly patients often are on numerous medications. They may not remember all of the medications they have been taken when answering questions for medical staff.
- Infectious Disease – All patients in a hospital are at risk for catching an infectious disease. However, the elderly often have a compromised immune system that makes them very susceptible to infectious diseases such as pneumonia and MRS.
Be a Patient Advocate For Your Loved One
Some elderly patients have difficulty speaking for themselves. They may not complain when something is wrong or they may not be able to complain. By being an advocate for your loved one can reduce the risk that he or she may be the victim of elder abuse in the hospital. Ways you can be a patient advocate include:
- Have several copies of your loved one’s medical history, including a list of all current medications and allergies. Provide a copy to the doctor. Before a nurse or any other person administers medication to your loved one, ask for the name of the medication and what the medication is intended to treat. Make notes about the medications given to your loved one.
- Watch for bed sores. If your loved one cannot move very well in the bed, note the times he repositions himself. Look for signs of bed sores and ask the nursing staff to turn your loved one periodically to avoid bed sores.
- Do not let your loved one get out of bed without assistance. Call for assistance if your loved one needs to get out of bed for any reason.
- Monitor how much your loved one eats. Make sure you or another family member is at the hospital during meals to ensure your loved one is eating.
- Make sure everyone entering the room washes his or her hands and uses hand sanitizer. You have the right to ask medical professionals if they washed their hands before entering the room.
Do You Suspect Elder Abuse Or Neglect?
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected, contact our office to speak with a Lexington nursing home abuse attorney. Your loved one has the right to pursue a claim against the party or parties responsible for the abuse.
Contact the Shelton Law Group by calling 1-888-761-7204 or by using our online contact form. We provide free case evaluations for abuse victims and their families. You have a limited time to file a nursing home abuse or elder abuse claim. Call us today to discuss your legal options for seeking justice for your loved one.