Putting a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult thing. You’re entrusting their safety and well-being to people you don’t know on a daily basis. When abuse arises, you feel angry, betrayed and frustrated at attempts to cover up the situation and avoid responsibility. Learn the signs of nursing home abuse, and how to handle the difficulty of getting answers and compensation for the injuries suffered as a result.
Nursing Home Abuse
As roughly 60 million Americans reach the age of 65 or older, more and more people find themselves in elder care facilities. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 44% of nursing home residents experience some form of mistreatment during their residency. These numbers are staggering and unacceptable.
Nursing home abuse takes many forms, from neglect to physical beatings, financial exploitation and even sexual abuse. Recognizing the signs can be difficult, especially when the nursing home is out to protect its own interests.
Signs of Abuse
There are a number of signs and signals that an elder in a care facility may be experiencing abuse. These signs can include:
- Unexplained injuries—broken bones, bruises, sores, cuts, burns and the like
- Unexplained illnesses, especially STDs
- Unusual expenses or drains on the loved one’s finances
- Granting of power of attorney to nursing home staff
- Sudden mood swings, withdrawal or personality shifts
- Caregivers try to isolate the elder or refuse to allow loved ones to be alone with the elder
- Caregiver behaves in a threatening or aggressive way
- Poor hygiene
- Lack of adequate clothing and amenities
- Lack of needed medical equipment, from wheelchairs to dentures and glasses
- Poor living conditions
These are just a few of the signs of potential abuse. Further red flags arise if the home is unable or unwilling to properly explain any of these signs when they arise.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
If you notice the signs of abuse and the situation presents as a life-threatening emergency, you should call 911 immediately. If the situation is not life-threatening, report the issue to local law enforcement and the local Adult Protective Services agency. The very first thing you need to do is make sure that your elderly loved one is protected and safe.
Either way, you should immediately seek the services of legal counsel. A lawyer will be able to step in with all the right connections and legal channels to make sure that your loved one’s rights are defended and that if abuse is present, you and your loved ones are properly compensated for the damages you have suffered. Not only that, but an elder law attorney can help to make sure that others do not suffer the same injuries.
If you or an elderly loved one may have suffered nursing home abuse, we are here to help. Check out our resources on the subject, and get in touch with us for a free, no-obligation consultation on the specifics of your case today.