When we place our loved ones into the care of a nursing home, we never expect them to be victims of abuse. Unfortunately, numbers have proven that abuse inside nursing homes and elderly care facilities is at an all-time high. Nursing home residents have a high risk for encountering physical, emotional and sexual abuse and are often not able or not willing to report their abuse—allowing for additional, prolonged abuse to them and others.
To ensure that our loved ones do not fall victim to nursing home neglect and abuse, it’s important for family members to remain diligent and understand the signs of elderly abuse.
Injury and Bruising
Physical abuse is one of the easiest types of abuse to spot, but it can also be tricky. Pay attention to your loved one at each visit and make note of multiple bruises, broken bones or scratches and scarring. The elderly are often more susceptible to these types of injuries, so noticing a new bruise doesn’t necessarily warrant a cause for alarm. But, if you notice multiple bruises, scratches in odd places or most importantly, broken bones, sprains or dislocations, you may be witnessing nursing home abuse.
Emotional abuse is another big trend when it comes to nursing home neglect. Often caretakers may never touch your loved one but will hurt them in other ways. This can include withholding medication or giving the wrong medication, threatening them, failing to provide necessities, and not bathing or caring for them properly. This type of abuse is harder to spot, but can be determined by noticing a soiled bed or unwashed clothing, a bad smell or bedsores, unusual weight loss, odd behaviors or first hand witnessing unkind tones or threatening words while in the presence of the caretaker.
Unexplained Medical Concerns
Sexual abuse is another common form of nursing home abuse. If you are notified that your loved one has a sudden STD or genital infection, you should be raising red flags immediately. You may also want to look for tears or bruising to identify sexual abuse. Other medical concerns may include an unexplained illness due to withholding medication or failing to tend to something like a common cold, lack of sleep or improper hygiene that leads to a more serious illness.
In addition to physical and emotional abuse, many elderly patients are also taken advantage of financially. Often, a caretaker may get close to a resident to get information about their bank accounts and steal from them or take advantage of their situation. If you notice that your loved ones’ bank account is quickly depleting, or depleting at all when it shouldn’t be, this should be a cause for alarm. Other signs of financial abuse or exploitation is noticing that they receive unusual packages or services, a change in the will or power of attorney, a change in their credit account or even noticing that medical care is not being provided even though they have the funds to afford it.
If you feel your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse, you will need an experienced attorney on your side to help you fight the system and get them out of a bad situation as soon as possible. The attorneys at Balkan & Patterson have experience with nursing home abuse and will fight for you and your family during this trying and scary time. For more information about how we can help you, contact us today at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.