Negligence in Home Care: Recognising the Signs and Protecting Your Loved Ones

When you entrust the well-being of your closest loved one to a care home, then it can be difficult to think about the possibility of negligence. But the consequences of negligence in this setting can be disastrous, especially if that negligence is chronic and unidentified.

Family members should be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of negligence. They should also know how to escalate a suspected case, and to protect their loved ones (and other residents in the same situation) from further harm.

Care home statistics

In the UK, there are around 16,726 care homes, which collectively house around 441,479 people. These figures are arrived at by adding the totals for the home countries together, and since everyone collates their data in a slightly different way, they should be viewed as estimates.

Around 70% of care homes are residential homes are residential, while 30% are nursing homes. The latter provide a higher degree of care, and are designed for residents who are unable to meet their own basic needs.

Coincidentally, according to the Alzheimer’s society, around 70% of those living in care homes have some form of dementia. This can make it extremely difficult for them to report any shortcomings in the care that they’re receiving.

How to recognise signs of negligence

There are a few common signs to watch out for. In all cases, bringing in a competent medical negligence solicitor will help you not only understand whether you have a case, but to pursue it, too.

Falls and fractures

A responsible care home should be able to carry out ongoing assessments when it comes to the risk of falls. Elderly people who suffer fractures, especially to the hip, are at increased risk of dying even after they’re suffered the problem.

Malnutrition

If your relative has suddenly lost a lot of weight, then this might indicate that they aren’t being fed properly. Other symptoms include receding gums, sudden confusion, and dull, dry hair.

Bedsores

The presence of bedsores indicates that a person has been kept immobile for a very long time. These injuries are almost always avoidable if the patient is moved around, and the weight in a given area is relieved.

Medication errors

If your loved one is prescribed the wrong medication, then they may suffer side effects that would otherwise have been avoided. Worse yet, they’ll fail to take the right medication, which can have disastrous implications for their prospects. By checking the medication yourself, you can be sure that it matches the prescription.

We should note that just because the medication matches what has been prescribed doesn’t mean it’s the appropriate medication – but any errors in the prescription would typically fall outside the responsibility of the care home.