When an elderly relative moves into a care home, you expect them to be well cared for. You expect the staff to treat them with dignity and respect and meet their needs.
But sometimes, things can go wrong. Whether that’s from the care home providing insufficient training, limited resources, or staff with an unprofessional attitude, it’s essential that action is taken so that residents receive the care they need and deserve.
If there has been a serious neglect of care, then seeking compensation for care home neglect is appropriate. It’s unlikely that it is just your relative that’s not receiving the care they need and so taking more formal action ensures that the home reviews its policies and raises its standards.
If you’re worried that your loved one is being neglected in their care home, here are ten warning signs to look out for:
1. Unkempt appearance
if a resident’s clothes are dirty or their hair is unbrushed, this could be a sign that they are not being cared for properly. There is no reason why a care home resident should not be well-groomed no matter their stage of life or wellbeing. Basic care should include:
- Clean teeth
- Finger and toenails cut
- Hair brushed and trimmed as needed
- Regular showers
- For gentlemen to be shaved as requested
2. Weight loss
if a resident has lost a lot of weight, this could be because they are not being given enough to eat or cannot feed themselves properly. It’s essential for the care home staff to monitor the weight of residents carefully and ensure they are eating enough.
Bedsores can be a sign that a resident is not being moved often enough and that their skin is coming into contact with something too hard (such as an uncomfortable mattress). Also known as pressure sores or ulcers, the NHS comment that they can be extremely painful and can lead to serious infections if not treated properly.
If a resident is dehydrated, this could be due to not being given enough to drink or that they are unable to access the water provided. Care home staff should monitor the amount of liquid that a resident is taking on a daily basis.
if a resident is incontinent, this could be a medical condition, or it could be because they are not being helped to the toilet often enough. It’s crucial for care home staff to ensure that residents who are incontinent are cleaned and dry to avoid skin irritation and infections.
6. Poor hygiene
if a care home smells bad or there is evidence of poor hygiene (such as dirty toilets), this could be a sign that the staff is not cleaning properly. It’s essential for care homes to maintain high standards of cleanliness to protect the health of residents and staff.
7. Unsafe environment
if a care home is not well-maintained, it could be due to staff just not taking proper care of the premises or the management team is not allocating enough funding to its upkeep. This can create an unsafe environment for residents and staff and increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
8. Staff shortages
If there are not enough staff on duty, this could signify that residents are not being adequately cared for. When manning levels are below where they should be, then it’s unlikely that the care home has enough staff to meet the needs of residents. Recruitment issues in the care sector are currently an ongoing issue in the UK.
9. Medication errors
When residents are not getting their medication on time or in the correct dosage, the outcome can be life-threatening. This might happen because the staff is not adequately trained, or they are overworked. It’s crucial for care home staff to receive training to administer medication and have enough time to do so correctly.
When a resident feels that they are not being treated with respect, this could signify that the staff is not following the proper care procedures. It’s essential for care home staff to treat residents with dignity and respect at all times.
If you notice any of these warning signs in a care home, it’s essential to speak to the staff and management to get more information. If you’re not satisfied with their response, you may want to consider making a complaint or contacting the care home regulator in your country.
Making a Claim for Compensation
If you believe that your loved one has been neglected in a care home, you may be able to claim compensation. This can help cover the costs of medical treatment, funeral expenses, and other damages such as pain and suffering.
You may be able to make a claim even if your loved one has passed away. In some cases, it may be possible to claim on behalf of your loved one’s estate.
If you’re considering making a claim, it’s essential to get legal advice from a solicitor who specializes in this area of law. They will be able to assess your case and advise you on the best course of action.
Claiming Compensation on Behalf of a Resident
If you’re claiming on behalf of a resident, there are a few things you’ll need to prove for your case to be successful. First, you’ll need to show that the care home staff were negligent in their duties, and this means that they failed to provide the proper standard of care that your loved one was entitled to.
You’ll also need to show that this negligence led to your loved one being harmed somehow. This could include physical or psychological injuries or the deterioration of their health. Finally, you’ll need to show that you have suffered damages due to your loved one’s neglect.
In the UK, you can become what’s known as a ‘litigation friend’ to claim on behalf of someone else. This means that you have the legal authority to act on their behalf. In order to do this, you’ll need to get permission from the court, but this is something that a solicitor can help you organize.