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Warning Signs Of Abuse In Nursing Homes

There are many nurses who are professional, reliable and treat your loved one with the proper care. But there are others in the profession who may not have the same level of professionalism or caregiving skills. Sometimes a facility may be understaffed, undertrained, or under supervised. Some nurse’s aides or nurses may also be excessively dismissive or aggressive. If you notice issues like these, that should be your first warning sign.

Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are present in some nursing homes, as well as cases of neglect. The nurses or nurses aides may have a high level of contact with your loved one, and your loved one may not be able to communicate how they are being treated when they are alone. In some cases, they may have trouble identifying what is happening. If you believe that your loved one is being abused by someone in their nursing home care facility, you must provide the voice that they may not have.

Physical abuse in a nursing home is a horrendous crime but will generally leave more evidence to help bring the abuser to justice. There are some glaring signs that you can keep an eye out for, such as:

  • Appearance of unexplained welts or scars, broken bones, unusual bruising, sprains or dislocations
  • Visible marks on wrists that could indicate restraints being used
  • Numerous instances of broken personal items
  • A caregiver who does not allow you to be alone with your loved one

Emotional abuse in a nursing home can be just as devastating to your loved one as physical abuse and is much easier for the abuser to hide. Some signs of emotional abuse could be:

  • Unusual changes in their behavior or sudden intensifying of dementia symptoms
  • May begin self-soothing behaviors such as mumbling, thumb sucking or rocking
  • Belittling or threatening behavior on the part of the caregiver, including being controlling, demeaning or verballing abusive

Sometimes patients in nursing care facilities are sexually abused, as they are generally not physically capable of resisting against a much younger and physically fit person. Some signs of sexual abuse in the elderly could be:

  • Unexplained STDs, infections, bruising around genitals or breasts, or vaginal or anal bleeding that may leave bloodstains on articles of clothing
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as hyper-alertness, emotional numbness, avoidance of activities or people once enjoyed, difficulty sleeping or being excessively irritable, jump or easily angered

Neglecting the patients in need of care is also considered nursing home abuse, as that means that the caregivers are not doing their job. Some signs of nursing home negligence could be:

  • Unsuitable living conditions such as a dirty or unsanitary environment, no heating or cooling in uncomfortable temperatures, or bug infestation problems
  • Not being moved enough in bed and developing bedsores
  • Dehydration or starvation signs such as severe weight loss, very dark urine, very dry skin, sunken eyes, dizziness, or fainting
  • Not adequately dressed for the weather conditions, or offered the chance to go outside or socialize

Residents may also experience nursing home financial abuse. You may notice your loved one have unexplained withdrawals from their bank account, sudden changes in their finances or missing cash. Examples of financial abuse include:

  • Cashing a resident’s income checks
  • The forgery of a signature
  • Outright theft of a resident’s personal possessions
  • Using deception or manipulation to obtain a resident’s signature
  • Unethical use of guardianship or the power of attorney

If you suspect that there is abuse going on within the care facility, reaching out to the authorities outside of the facility and filing a complaint with the care facility should be your first steps to finding the truth.

If you find evidence that your loved one is being abused, document everything you can, such as photographing evidence, creating copies of financial statements, and writing down specific details. Make sure they are safe if you believe them to be in immediate danger, and don’t forget to ensure your own safety. Call 9-1-1, talk to nursing home administrators and file a complaint. Lastly, talk to KBA Attorneys to help you pursue a civil lawsuit to recover compensation and ensure your loved one gets proper nursing care.

 

References
https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/symptoms https://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.org/what-to-do/ https://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.com/nursing-home-abuse/signs/