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What you should know about nursing home neglect

Connecticut residents may not find it surprising to learn that the well-established medical and public health infrastructure in the United States has drastically increased life expectancy. According to the CDC, in 2012 there were over 43 million persons aged 65 and older in the country. This demographic of older persons is expected to rapidly grow mainly due to the baby-boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, turning 65.

As the U.S. population ages, its needs also change. Though many older people will live long and healthy lives, many more may need special care, which their families may not be equipped to provide for various reasons. To ensure that their loved one gets the right medical care, some may have to put a family member in a nursing home, and entrust the nursing home facility to care for a family member. Nursing homes provide families peace of mind that their loved one is cared for adequately. However, though many nursing home facilities provide reasonable care, there may be those that be neglectful and cause harm to that loved one.

Nursing home neglect and elder abuse is a very serious matter, and licensed healthcare providers are mandated reporters. However, families should be aware that it happens, and inform themselves on how to recognize elder abuse and neglect. One indicator that a loved one is not receiving adequate care is the development of bedsores. These are preventable pressure sores which will not develop if a person is not being regularly moved around. It is important for families to check to make sure their loved one does not have bedsores. Other signs of neglect include dehydration, sudden weight loss, changes in mood, broken bones, medication errors such as over medication, and poor hygiene.

It is important to be vigilant about a loved one's health status. Though nursing homes provide a great service, there are times when neglect and abuse may happen. In these cases, prompt attention to the situation with the help of an experienced attorney can be beneficial in bringing about justice.

Source: cdc.gov, "The State of Aging and Health in America," Accessed Dec. 4, 2014

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