Everybody wants to envision their parents’ and other loved ones enjoying a healthy and vibrant old age. We hope for them to be independent for as long as possible, but all too often the realities are different and it is necessary to have them receive care in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home. When this happens, our perspectives and priorities need to shift: instead of focusing on independence our thoughts turn to safety, particularly as we hear more and more about nursing home abuse and elder abuse. At the Philadelphia law firm of Bochetto & Lentz, we are dedicated to making sure that our clients and their loved ones are well protected. The first step is to make sure that you know the signs of nursing home abuse.
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. In some cases it is intentional, while in others it is a matter of negligence by those who are responsible for the care and wellbeing of the nursing home resident whose care they have been entrusted with. The most common types of nursing home abuse are:
- Physical abuse – causing pain or injury or restraining through the use of physical restraints or drugs
- Neglect – failing to provide the necessary protections or basic necessities of food, shelter, and medical care
- Sexual abuse – inflicting non-consensual sexual contact either through physical contact or by exposing the victim to observing others
- Emotional abuse – belittling, causing fear or distress through verbal or nonverbal actions
- Exploitation – Fraudulently or illegally using or taking the nursing home resident’s money or possessions
- Abandonment – leaving the resident alone and unattended to
There are signs to watch out for with each of these types of abuse, but the five most common things to watch out for when you suspect that a loved one is being victimized include:
- Physical indications of abuse, including broken bones, cuts, burns, bruises
- Bleeding, bruising or tearing around the genitals or breasts, or diagnosis with a sexually-transmitted disease
- Unwillingness to speak in front of the caretaker
- Depression and withdrawal, rocking
- Bedsores, malnutrition, poor hygiene, dehydration
When you see any of these signs in your loved one, it will naturally be cause for alarm. Unfortunately, in many cases the person who is responsible for their care may try to convince you that they are a normal occurrence in an aging person and not a cause for your concern. This is not the case. A well-cared for, well-attended resident of a nursing home will not exhibit any of these symptoms, and it is incumbent upon you to quickly take action.
The attorneys at Bochetto & Lentz are able to take quick action to help you protect your family member or friend from elder abuse and nursing home abuse, as well as to get you the compensation that is needed to address the damage that has been done. If you are concerned and would like to speak with us, contact our office immediately.