Discovering that a loved one isn’t receiving proper care in a nursing home is a scenario nobody wants to face. Yet, with studies indicating that approximately 1 in 10 nursing home residents experience abuse or neglect, nursing home neglect is a harsh possibility that we must be prepared for.
The first step to protecting our loved ones? Recognizing and knowing how to report nursing home neglect in Ohio. Use this guide to ensure they receive the dignity they deserve in their golden years.
What is Considered Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect happens when a nursing facility fails to provide the necessary care and services to maintain a resident’s physical and mental health. Unlike abuse, which implies a deliberate infliction of harm, neglect is often caused by a lack of resources, inadequate training, or staffing issues.
But what is considered nursing home neglect? Some common forms include:
- Basic needs neglect: Not providing adequate food, water, or a safe and clean environment.
- Medical neglect: Failing to deliver necessary medical care, including medication management, wound care, or prevention of medical complications.
- Personal hygiene neglect: Not assisting with personal hygiene tasks such as bathing, grooming, and dental care.
- Emotional or social neglect: Ignoring the resident, leaving them alone for extended periods, or not providing social stimulation.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?
Realizing that a family member might be experiencing nursing home neglect can be deeply troubling. The signs can often be subtle and easily overlooked, especially when we want to believe they are in good hands.
When visiting your loved one, keep an eye out for these indicators of neglect:
- Physical changes: Does your loved one have noticeable and unexplained physical signs such as bruises, bedsores, or significant weight loss?
- Emotional shifts: Are they showing out-of-character behavior, such as increased agitation, confusion, withdrawal, depression, or anxiety?
- Facility conditions: Does the facility feel unsanitary (e.g., dirty linens or unclean bathrooms)? Are there visible signs of understaffing or insufficient supplies?
How Prevalent is Nursing Home Neglect in Ohio?
As of 2023, Ohio’s average overall nursing home quality is ranked in the bottom quartile among all states. Additionally, many nursing facilities are inconsistent in complying with standards of care—a troubling trend that has prompted Ohio Governor DeWine to form a task force focused on improving Ohio’s nursing homes.
It’s clear: As the state takes steps to address these challenges, being informed and engaged in our loved ones’ care is more important than ever.
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect
Ohio law is designed to protect nursing home residents, ensuring they receive the care they deserve. If you are concerned about the well-being of your loved ones, trust your instincts and know that it is within your right to explore options for action.
Here’s what to do if you suspect nursing home neglect, including how to report nursing home neglect in Ohio.
Speak to the nursing home’s administration
Approaching the facility’s management with your concerns can feel daunting, especially if you’re worried about potential retaliation. However, voicing your concerns is a necessary first step in advocating for your loved one’s well-being.
Facility administrators are legally obligated to investigate and address complaints about resident care. When you raise an issue, remember that this is not just about your loved one, but ensuring a safe environment for all residents.
If you’re feeling nervous, consider bringing along a supportive friend or family member, or even consult with a legal professional beforehand.
Contact the Office of the State Long-Term Ombudsman
Ohio’s Office of the State Long-Term Ombudsman is designed to investigate reports of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The Ombudsman advocates for residents—paid and volunteer staff will work with you, your loved one, and the nursing home to resolve issues.
The Ohio Department of Health is another valuable resource to check out, especially if there’s an immediate threat to your loved one’s safety. They also have the authority to initiate investigations into nursing homes.
Consult with a legal professional
Speaking to a lawyer doesn’t have to be seen as a last resort; instead, it’s a proactive and protective step in ensuring the best possible care for your loved one. They’re there to listen, understand your situation, and offer advice on how to proceed.
One path they might recommend is filing a nursing home neglect lawsuit. A nursing home neglect lawsuit isn’t just about seeking justice or compensation for any harm your loved one may have suffered, but it’s also a proactive approach to instigate change and prevent similar incidents from happening to other residents in the future.
If you suspect that a loved one has been a victim of neglect in a Cleveland, Ohio nursing home, don’t hesitate to reach out. With many of the team being top lawyers for nursing home neglect in Ohio, Slater & Zurz is committed to protecting the rights and well-being of your loved ones. We’re here to provide the guidance and support you need—whatever it may be.
For a free consultation and to discuss your options, call us today at (440) 557-2861