It is estimated that as many as 5 million people are victims of nursing home abuse or neglect each year. Considering this is only taking into account reported incidents, the number is likely higher, making it crucial to know how to spot the signs of nursing home abuse to protect your elderly family members.
If you’re not sure what to look for, the nursing home abuse attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., will break down the most common signs of nursing home abuse. In our many years of collective experience, we’ve learned that no two cases look the same. Here is what you should keep in mind when a loved one is in a nursing home.
Physical signs are the most obvious form of abuse and can manifest in various ways. Some red flags to look for include unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones. These injuries may be a result of rough handling, physical restraint, or even intentional harm by caregivers. Other physical signs may include poor personal hygiene, malnutrition, and dehydration.
Not all forms of abuse leave visible marks on the body. Emotional and psychological abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse. For example, a once outgoing and sociable person can become withdrawn, anxious, or even depressed. They may also display aggressive behavior, particularly when interacting with specific caregivers.
Nursing home abuse can also take the form of financial exploitation. This can include the nursing home and/or caregivers using a resident’s funds without permission, stealing a resident’s identity, or coercing the resident into changing their will and estate plans. Family members need to monitor their loved ones’ finances for any irregularities and be wary of sudden changes in their financial situation.
The physical environment can also provide clues about potential abuse or neglect. Poor living conditions, inadequate care, and lack of basic amenities such as clean bedding and clothing are all signs that a resident may not be receiving proper care.
Communication is key when ensuring the well-being of nursing home residents. Changes in communication patterns, such as difficulty speaking or understanding, can be a sign of abuse. Caregivers might also limit or monitor phone calls and visits with family members, which could be an indicator of controlling behavior.
Hotspotting is the act of physically restraining residents to their beds or chairs for extended periods of time. This practice is not only unethical but can also lead to serious physical and psychological harm. Signs of hotspotting include bedsores, muscle weakness, and a decline in overall health.
If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your loved one’s well-being, it is crucial to take action. Start by speaking with your loved one directly to understand their perspective. Even if they are not honest about what is going on, they may give you insight by what they don’t say. Try to document your conversation in some way either through a consented recording or writing if possible. Document any other evidence and report the abuse to the appropriate authorities. It is also crucial to remove your loved one from the situation as soon as possible and seek medical attention if necessary.
Nursing home abuse is a serious issue that requires vigilance and awareness from both families and caregivers. If we know what abuse signs to look for, we can take measures to protect our loved ones and ensure they are receiving the care and respect they deserve. If you have any suspicions or concerns, do not hesitate to investigate and take action.
Once you report your findings to the proper authorities, you can file a lawsuit against the nursing home to get compensation for your loved one. If the authorities fail, you can file a civil suit to hold those responsible for your loved one’s suffering accountable for their actions. To do that, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys for a consultation. We’ll break down what steps you should take next. Contact us today.