Millions of families trust nursing homes to care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, not all nursing facilities care for their patients properly, leading to numerous cases of nursing home abuse and neglect each year. In fact, more than 40% of all nursing home residents have reported experiencing abuse, and more than 90% report experiencing or witnessing neglect in a nursing home facility. If someone you love receives care at a nursing home, make sure you know how to spot potential signs of nursing home abuse or neglect.
About Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home facilities are utilized by senior individuals across the nation, and in those facilities there are plenty of different ways elder abuse can take place.
Elder abuse can take a variety of forms, including:
- Physical abuse: Usually though pinching, pushing, hitting, or other acts to cause bodily injury
- Sexual abuse: Forced sexual advances or sexual acts with an elder who cannot provide consent
- Financial abuse: Theft through force, coercion, or manipulation
- Neglect: Failure to provide the resident with basic needs, including food, water, medical care, etc.
- Emotional or mental abuse: May include any behavior meant to intimidate, frighten, or discomfort
Any of these forms of abuse can be extremely damaging and painful. Anyone who comes into the nursing home can be a potential abuser, which is why it is crucial for nursing home facilities to exhibit caution when allowing people to enter the home. In many cases the abuser or negligent party is the nurse on staff, though doctors, visitors, residents, and other nursing home staff members can be responsible for cases of abuse or neglect.
Symptoms of Abuse
The ways in which abuse may exhibit symptoms typically depend on the type of abuse the individual is suffering from. For example, victims of sexual abuse tend to experience mood changes, withdrawal, and anger, whereas financial abuse might cause embarrassment, confusion, or noticeable economic changes. Each case of abuse or neglect is different, and all victims respond in their own way. The best thing to remember is to pay attention to your loved one and note any changes in behavior that seem unusual to you. You know your family best, and you will be more qualified to notice changes than most other people. However, there are some common signs of nursing home abuse to look for.
Nursing home abuse victims may exhibit the following warning signs:
- Unexplained injuries
- Bruises, burns, or broken bones
- Marks of forced restraint
- Uncharacteristic mood swings
- Frequent illnesses or infections
- Unreasonable anxiety or paranoia
- Refusal to be left alone with a specific caregiver
- Unexplained STDs or genital infections
- Bruising or bleeding in or around the genital areas
- Witnessed belittling or threatening behavior
- Unsafe living conditions
- Drastic weight loss
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Untreated injuries
- Messy, unclean living conditions
- The negligence victim is dirty and lacks care essentials
- Bed sores (due to extended caregiver inattentiveness)
- Unexplained expenses
- Financial changes
- Refusal to discuss finances
- Change to wills, life insurance policies, etc.
If you notice any of these telltale symptoms in a nursing home resident you know, make sure you do what you can to investigate the situation. Ask your loved one if he or she is suffering from any type of nursing home abuse or neglect. You might think they would tell you if they were suffering, but many nursing home abuse victims admit that they were ashamed or did not want to inconvenience their loved ones by telling them the truth. Make sure your loved one knows that you want to help and that you care about their wellbeing. After they have been removed from the home and received appropriate medical attention, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys to discuss your next step.
Our firm is passionate about fighting for the rights of the injured, and we want to make sure your family receives the care they deserve. If your loved one was abused, we can help investigate their case and help fight for justice and compensation on their behalf.
To discuss your case with our nursing home abuse attorneys, contact Kaiser Gornick, LLP.