News coverage of nursing home abuse is a nightmare come-to-life for millions of Americans who have loved ones receiving care in long-term care and nursing home facilities. No matter how glossy and beautiful the facilities’ brochures may be or what promises of compassion and activities are made, once you’ve signed all the contracts and moved your family member in, there’s little you can do to protect them beyond paying close attention.
There are many contributing factors that lead to nursing home abuse and elderly abuse, but experts attribute most of the abuse to negligent hiring practices and supervision, inadequate training and background checks, and significant understaffing leading employees to frustration and violent outbursts. If you have a loved one in a nursing home facility, there are telltale signs that serve as red flags. By keeping your eyes and ears open, you give your loved one the opportunity for action to be taken quickly.
Here are some of the symptoms and signs you need to watch out for:
- Unexplained weight loss/malnutrition
- Bed sores
- Poor hygiene
- Fractures and broken bones
- Genital bruising
- Sexually-transmitted diseases
- Unexplained falls
- Restraint marks
- Changes in behavior including becoming noncommunicative or agitated
- Fearfulness, especially around nursing home staff
- Staff members refusing to allow you to be alone with the resident
Many families of nursing home residents struggle with getting confirmation of what is happening when they’re not there. While this is especially true of loved ones who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, even those who are able to communicate and who have been abused are too intimidated to speak up. When this is the situation, family members need to note this change in behavior, as it is often the only way that the family member is able to communicate with you. Other indications include flinching at being touched.
Nursing home neglect and abuse can take many forms. When residents are left entirely alone, ignored and disregarded it is considered neglect. Neglect can be so overt that patients are not provided with the medication or medical care that they need. Abuse is even more frightening and can take the form of physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is being victimized, you need to act quickly to protect them and secure their safety. Contact our office today to set up an appointment to discuss your options.