Families who place an elderly loved one in a nursing home do so with the assurance that the person in question will receive the highest quality care. They fully expect the staff of the facility to look out for their best interests. One of the functions of the nursing home staff is to account for their patient’s whereabouts on a daily basis. They are to do a regular headcount to see if anybody is missing.
A situation can happen in a nursing home where a resident who is left unattended and unsupervised can wander around the facility on their own and go places they should not go. They can even wander out the door and start walking on a busy city street or highway wearing nothing but their nursing home attire. Sometimes they think they are going home.
Even patients in wheelchairs or those who walk with the aid of a device like a walker or cane can leave the facility and not come back. If the residents are not found soon, they can suffer falls and endure serious injuries with broken bones. They can also suffer malnutrition, dehydration, and physical, emotional and mental stress, complications from stroke or seizure and death. All of this can happen because somebody was not keeping an eye on them.
Inadequate staff supervision is one of the biggest dangers to patients in a nursing home. Some facilities employ just enough staff to meet state requirements. Others, due to economic considerations, do not employ enough staff to meet all the needs of the residents. Other facilities might have an adequate number of staff, but they may be incompetent or poorly trained.
Residents are not in a condition to be left alone for long periods. They have to be monitored when they are eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, taking a shower or bath, taking their medications, and even in a recreation room watching TV or playing board games or cards. Some need to have staff dress and feed them manually and take care of their bathroom needs on a daily basis. In many facilities, patients are supposed to wear monitoring devices to account for their whereabouts. All the doors to the facility are to be secured with alarms. Security cameras are to be working.
Inadequate supervision in a nursing home is a serious issue. Cases like this need to be reported. That is why each county in Pennsylvania has an Area Agency on Aging, which employs Case Workers and Ombudsmen. They investigate senior citizen abuse, especially in nursing home situations. If you suspect an abuse is happening, first contact your local aging office. Then contact the attorneys of Michael J. O’Connor & Associates. We have been winning nursing home abuse cases and nursing home neglect cases for years. We have families that we take care of too, and we are ready to help you take care of yours.