Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms. The signs and symptoms can be very obvious or far more subtle. It’s important to understand what these manifestations of abuse can look like if you believe your loved one may be in this type of situation so that you can take quick action.
In addition to calling 911 if you believe your loved one is in immediate harm’s way and reporting the nursing home to your local Department of Health & Senior Services, you may want to speak with an attorney to understand your legal options.
Physical Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
One of the first important signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are physical manifestations that something may be wrong with your loved one. Some of these signs may be more obvious, like broken or fractured bones, contusions and bruising, and unexplained back, neck, or head injuries.
However, there can be other less blatant signs, such as small cuts or lacerations, scars, welts, dislocations or sprains, or unexplained infections. Broken eyeglasses or dentures often occur when someone is inflicting physical harm on a nursing home resident, such as when someone is struck in the face.
Financial Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Your loved one could be suffering elder abuse without anyone having physically laid a hand on them. Nursing home residents can be particularly vulnerable to bad actors who detect an opportunity to take advantage of them for financial gain. As such, it is vital to look out for some of the most common indications of financial abuse, which is an extremely frequently reported instance of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If you have recently noticed mysterious shifts in your loved one’s financial situation, such as missing cash or even poor medical care when they should have the funds to obtain the necessary treatment, these could all be warnings that your loved one is suffering from financial abuse at the hands of a nursing home staff member or another nefarious party. Large account withdrawals when that is either not your loved one’s habit or they are not in a position to withdraw cash due to health limitations can indicate financial abuse.
Some signs can be extremely subtle. New services, subscriptions, or accounts that are in your loved one’s name but that they wouldn’t have signed up for on their own volition could also mean that someone is attempting to or has stolen their identity. New signatories on accounts or sudden changes to powers of attorney, wills, or life insurance policies are more blatant signs of financial abuse.
Psychological Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Psychological or emotional abuse is another way that elder abuse can be perpetrated in a nursing home setting. If your loved one exhibits notable behavioral changes, such as emotional withdrawal, a reluctance to participate in the activities they usually do, emotions that are not typical for them—like anger or depression, or indicates contemplations of self-harm, there could be something much darker amiss.
Expressing fear of a fellow resident or staff member, or a general nervousness or anxiety when these are uncharacteristic behaviors for your loved one could be warning signs of abuse. A nursing home resident who is experiencing psychological or emotional abuse may also take up seemingly strange and repetitive habits like nail-biting, rocking back and forth, mumbling, or grinding their teeth.
If you witness a nursing home staff member yelling at your loved one, shaming or mocking them, or ignoring or failing to respond to their requests, do not assume that it is a one-time occurrence or that the worker is having a bad day. In addition to reporting the incident, contact a trusted nursing home abuse attorney for more information about your legal rights and options.
Healthcare Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Poor or insufficient healthcare is another leading indicator that abuse or neglect is occurring in a nursing home facility. For example, if your loved one is showing signs of malnourishment, is not being administered the right medication and dosage, or is being left in soiled clothes or bedding, these could be potential forms of neglect or abuse. Other healthcare-related signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Infections that worsen (i.e. sepsis)
- Being improperly dressed for the weather
- Not being administered the correct type or dosage of regular medications
Sexual Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
While it may seem unimaginable that someone could perpetrate any type of harm on an elder, abuse can take every form imaginable, including sexual abuse. Anal or genital bleeding or irritation, an onset of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) when there is no apparent explanation, torn undergarments, or bruising around the thighs or genital areas are often clear signs that sexual abuse is occurring.
It is also important to look out for the less apparent signs of this form of nursing home abuse as well. For instance, a sudden pelvic injury, difficulty moving, trouble walking or sitting, as well as emotional change—like the onset of panic attacks—could tell you that a closer look at the situation is warranted.
Seek Immediate Legal Help When You Suspect Your Loved One Is Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
When you suspect that your loved one is suffering elder abuse in a nursing home facility from a staff member or resident, you might be feeling a mixture of emotions, including fear and anger. You may be unsure what to do next.
That’s where the knowledgeable team of nursing home neglect lawyers at OnderLaw can step in. If you are witnessing any signs that you believe could indicate your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse and neglect, we can help you take decisive steps to preserve and protect your loved one’s rights.
Our reliable attorneys have experience handling these cases and holding the facilities, the large corporations that often own them, insurance companies, and any other culpable parties legally responsible. Give our office a call today to discuss your situation with one of our trusted attorneys during a free, confidential legal consultation.