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Red flags for nursing home negligence and abuse

Many families in Connecticut rely on nursing homes to care for elderly relatives. Vulnerable populations behind closed doors sometimes suffer from inadequate care or outright abuse by staff members. When visiting loved ones, people should watch for signs that the facility is failing to meet accepted standards for care.

Lots of nursing home residents require support to complete basic hygiene tasks. Unkempt hair, unwashed bodies, overly long fingernails and poorly maintained teeth indicate that support is lacking. Insufficient staffing levels and high employee turnover rates contribute to these problems. A resident upset about mistreatment might also fall into a depression and begin to neglect hygiene or become hostile or withdrawn.

A facility that appears dirty with unwashed sheets and soiled bathrooms raises concerns about staffing and resident health. Federal law requires nursing homes to maintain sanitary living conditions. If a facility is neglected, residents could be facing harm as well. Malnutrition and dehydration afflict many residents as well either because they are refusing food, physically struggling to eat or the staff does not make the effort to make sure people get what they need. Unexplained or excessive injuries should also alert family members to trouble. Although the elderly have a high risk of falling, inattentive or abusive staff members sometimes cause injuries.

An institution that knowingly fails to follow reasonable standards of care could incur financial responsibility for an injured resident. A family member who wants to take legal action against a facility could consult an attorney familiar with medical malpractice. An attorney could review evidence and identify the laws violated by the nursing home negligence. Legal support might help a family move someone to a safe location and recover compensation through a lawsuit. Before going to trial, an attorney might seek a settlement from the facility's insurer.

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