How to Recognize the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Posted By Todd Miner Law || Sep 27, 2016
The decision to entrust a loved one to the care of a nursing home is already difficult enough without the added worry that they may not receive the level of care that you are expecting. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a huge problem in the United States, with many facilities struggling with a lack of qualified staffing. In fact, the Senate Special Committee on Aging states that elder abuse affects as many as five million people every year.
While some signs of abuse are obvious, nursing home abuse isn’t always easy to spot.
Here’s what you should look for:
- Signs of neglect. Unusual weight loss, bedsores, soiled diapers, or dirty clothes are signs that your loved one is not getting the attention they need to maintain their health. A lack of needed medical aids, like glasses, walkers, and hearing aids, may also signal neglect.
- Signs of physical abuse. Pressure marks, bruises, abrasions, burns, and broken bones are some of the signs that physical abuse may be occurring. You should also be wary of odd or inconsistent explanations for injuries, or excuses for why you cannot visit with your loved one alone. Another red flag may include taking the patient to multiple facilities for treatment.
- Signs of emotional abuse. If your loved one begins displaying nervous or fearful behavior, seems withdrawn or apathetic, or is displaying other unusual behaviors, this may be a sign that they are being emotionally abused. If you have observed or have been told by your loved one that a caregiver has been snapping or yelling at them, or if you have noticed that they seem tense or strained in a caregiver’s presence, you should immediately address the matter with the head of the nursing home.
- Signs of financial abuse. Evidence of financial exploitation can include increased use of credit cards, more frequent cash withdrawals, unusual purchases, and money disappearing without being accounted for. Since senior citizens – especially those with cognitive impairments – can be vulnerable targets, this type of abuse is unfortunately not uncommon.
- Signs of sexual abuse. It may seem unthinkable, but it does happen. Watch for difficulty standing or walking, depressed or withdrawn behavior, bruises or bleeding in private areas, evidence of venereal disease, or touchiness or flirtation by a caregiver.
Elderly people may have difficulty communicating that they are being abused due to dementia, illness, or a fear of being neglected. Even without these difficulties, they may be less likely to report that they are being abused due to their dependence on others for care. This is why it is crucial that you stay in touch with your loved one by speaking with them or visiting whenever possible. You know your loved one better than anyone and are his or her most effective advocate!
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused at a nursing home, do not delay in addressing your concerns. As soon as you contact Todd Miner Law, our Orlando nursing home abuse attorney can launch an investigation into the extent of the abuse and take legal action. We will work hard to hold negligent nursing homes and staff members responsible for their misconduct. You rights and the rights of your loved one are our top priority.
Take the first step toward justice by filling out a free case evaluation form, or by calling (407) 269-5877.