A study of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes conducted by USA Today and The Boston Globe in 2019 revealed how the residents at least 25 of its facilities faced neglect at employees’ hands. Sadly, it doesn’t take reading or listening to too many news stories to determine that this trend doesn’t just apply to government-run assisted living facilities. It’s a problem at both public and private facilities.
The above-referenced study highlighted some of the more common types of neglect that nursing home residents face. Would you know what steps to take if you suspected your mom’s assisted living facility was neglecting her?
What are some examples of neglect to look for at an assisted living facility?
Inspectors who toured one VA assisted living facility in 2019 determined that employees had turned up the water heater so high that it scalded residents every time they attempted to wash their hands or bathe. They pointed out in their report that this was particularly concerning to them as many dementia patients couldn’t discern temperatures, leaving them vulnerable to suffering burns.
Another concerning phenomenon inspectors discovered at a different VA assisted living facility was residents moaning in pain. The inspectors noted in their report that workers ignored their cries for help and didn’t find a way for residents to summon help at their bedside other than calling out.
An additional problematic situation that inspectors identified was poor disease prevention protocol implementation. Workers failed to wear gloves and other personal protective equipment when caring for residents. They discovered at least one instance in which a resident had E. coli on their body from inadequate hygiene.
What should you do if you suspect neglect at your mom’s assisted living facility?
There are a few different steps that you’ll want to take if you suspect that your mom has suffered neglect at her assisted living facility’s hands, including:
- Asking your mom what happened or if their roommate noticed anything.
- Getting your mom to the doctor for a check-up.
- Taking photographs, witness statements and preserving other evidence.
- Requesting a meeting with the facility’s administrator.
- Contacting the state nursing home licensing authority.
You may want to bring an attorney into the fold if there’s mounting proof that neglect occurred. They can advise you how California law may allow you to hold an assisted living facility liable for their negligence in such instances.