The warning indicators of nursing home abuse are diverse and include unexplained injuries, unsanitary conditions, abrupt behavioral changes, and pressure ulcers or bedsores. Additionally, some residents experience emotional abuse. Nursing facilities sometimes prioritize profitability over patient care, which can lead to abuse, negligent care, major accidents, and even fatalities.
Some of the most vulnerable members of society are those who live in nursing homes. The care of nursing home residents is governed by state and federal laws.
We highly suggest contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer to safeguard your loved one and secure compensation if you suspect abuse is taking place at a nursing facility. This type of attorney will protect your loved one’s rights and hold the nursing home and any other parties at fault accountable.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the signs of nursing home abusethat you might be overlooking, as they can be very subtle.
The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse You May Have Missed
Keep in mind that many of the signs of elder abuse in nursing homes are very easy to miss. Do not feel guilty if you have overlooked some of these signs. Arming yourself with knowledge will make it easier to protect your loved ones.
Frequent Bouts of Illness
An increase in sick days can be an indicator that a nursing home resident is neglected. While long-term care institutions are required to safeguard their inhabitants by adhering to the health and safety standards imposed by the government, seniors are still a very susceptible population, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. To stop the spread of the coronavirus and other illnesses, face coverings and social distancing should still be practiced. A senior should see a doctor right away if he or she is sicker than usual. Frequent infections, the flu, or fevers may be caused by unsanitary healthcare facilities and/or inadequate grooming.
Red Flag Behavior From Caregivers
Nursing home employees are frequently subject to extreme stress and chronic weariness brought on by their everyday obligations. They may take that stress out on nursing home residents or may turn to alcohol or illegal drugs to cope.
Visitors from the family may notice a caregiver acting in an intimidating, domineering, or demeaning manner, which can be an indication of nursing home abuse to watch out for. You may also notice a senior acting differently or fearfully in the presence of a caregiver – another subtle warning sign to be aware of.
Signs of Physical Abuse or Accidents
Be aware of the signs of physical abuse – marks on the body from being grabbed, restrained, or beaten, such as bruises, welts, and scratches. Pay attention to the wrists, ankles, and upper arms in particular. It is easiest to hold onto or detain the resident in these areas. Note that a resident may always be on guard if they have experienced a physical attack as a means of self-defense. They may appear jittery or quickly frightened as a result of loud noises or any rapid movements.
While some marks on the body may be indicators of physical abuse, others might be the result of falls or other accidents. Therefore, it’s critical to look for and pay attention to any marks on your loved one’s body. Make sure to photograph any marks or visible injuries. This will help document any form of abuse or neglect that is taking place.
Dehydration and Weight Loss
Some senior citizens who can no longer care for themselves or maintain their unique dietary requirements are forced to adapt to living in nursing homes. Neglecting these requirements can lead to major physical problems and even death. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye out for any sudden weight loss or dehydration.
Poor Personal Hygiene
The activities of washing, cleaning one’s teeth, and changing one’s clothes can be challenging for many senior residents of nursing facilities. This is particularly true for people who have dementia. Lack of movement can lead to pressure ulcers, commonly known as bed sores, which if not treated promptly, can lead to serious and often deadly infections. Keep an eye out for unchanged diapers, filthy clothes, and unbrushed teeth as they may be indicators of neglect or inadequate care. Pay particular attention to the presence of bed sores on your loved one’s underside as these can be very serious injuries.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is usually covert and persistent, as opposed to physical abuse, which is often blatant and severe. It happens gradually over time and can drain the resident physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s possible that not even the residents themselves are entirely aware of what is going on. Even though it might be challenging to identify emotional abuse, there are telltale indications and recurring behaviors that can show it is happening.
When a resident engages in repeated behaviors like rocking back and forth, sucking, or mumbling to oneself, it may be a sign of emotional abuse. If a resident starts to rebel against taking their medications, it can be an emotional or psychological reaction to mistreatment.
Unfortunately, many of these traits and symptoms are frequently associated with aging. However, if multiple of these symptoms appear together with a recurring pattern, it may be an indication of verbal or emotional abuse.
Signs of Financial Abuse
It might be challenging to identify and revealfinancial abuse in a nursing home. Typically, financial abuse entails coercing the elderly victim into giving permission. There are several indicators to watch out for if you think you or a loved one has been financially abused at a nursing home. Unaccounted-for spending, forgetting about some expenses, enrolling in services that need regular monthly payments, and making charitable contributions to unidentified or unregistered charities are all signs of financial abuse.
Signs of Neglect
The duties that come with taking care of an elderly person include providing for their basic needs, such as food, water, clothes, housing, personal cleanliness, medication, comfort, and personal safety. Failing to do so would be considered neglect.
Pay attention to subtle signs of neglect including unexpected weight loss, confusion, and disorientation which may all be symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration. As mentioned, bed sores are another critical indicator of neglect in nursing home residents.
What Should I Do if I Believe My Loved One is Being Abused in a Nursing Home?
Nursing home residents have varying degrees of communication skills. Even people who are able to communicate well with others could be ashamed or afraid to alert loved ones to an abusive situation. Inform Adult Protective Services, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and/or your local authorities if you believe a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Then contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. When it comes to protecting family members, taking quick action is key.
How was our guide to some of the lesser-known signs of nursing home abuse to watch out for? If you believe that a loved one has been abused or neglected while living in a nursing home, we recommend seeking the guidance of our experienced personal injury lawyers. We are here to protect your loved one and to hold those responsible accountable.