Making the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home is not an easy one to make. You’ve likely exhausted all other options before doing the research to find the best possible home within your budget.
Unfortunately, nursing homes are fraught with abuse and neglect. Oftentimes, nursing home staff are not adequately trained to properly handle the patients they serve. They are also typically underpaid and overworked, which does not provide strong incentives for employees to do a good job—even though human lives depend on it.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize the warning signs of abuse and neglect when they exist. Read on to learn more about the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Defining Abuse and Neglect
Federal nursing home regulations state that abuse is the intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care and/or service deprivation, or punishment that results in physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.
There are several different forms of nursing home abuse, such as:
Neglect is the failure, whether intentional or unintentional, to provide a person with the care and services needed to ensure freedom from harm or pain; a failure to react to a potentially hazardous situation that results in resident harm or anxiety.
Common Forms of Abuse and Neglect
The following are some of the most common forms of elder abuse and neglect while residing in nursing homes:
- Assault and battery
- Examples include kicking, slapping, pinching, pushing, shaking, beating, threats, and verbal or emotional abuse
- Lack of care for existing medical issues
- Prolonged or continuous food or water deprivation
- Rape or other forms of sexual assault or battery
- Unreasonable physical restraint or seclusion
- Using a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication for purposes that are inconsistent with that authorized by a physician
Warning Signs of Physical or Verbal Abuse and Neglect
- Unexplained broken bones, dislocations, or sprains
- Bruises, scars, or welts appear on the body
- Failure to properly take medications
- Signs of restraint, such as rope marks on the elder’s wrist(s)
- Broken eyeglasses
- The caregiver refuses to allow you to be alone with the elderly person
- The elder’s behavior changes in ways that can resemble signs of dementia, such as:
- Thumb sucking
- Rocking behaviors
- You notice the caregiver behaving in the following ways toward the elder:
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or other genital infections
- Bruises near the genitals or around the breasts
- Stained, bloody, or torn undergarments
- Vaginal or anal bleeding unrelated to a medical ailment
- Sudden changes in the elder’s financial circumstances
- Unexplained withdrawals from the elder’s bank accounts
- Changes in the power of attorney, life insurance policies, property titles, or wills
- Missing cash from the elder’s home or room
- More names are added to the signature card of the elder’s credit cards
- ATM withdrawals during a period when the senior is bedridden and couldn’t have done it themselves
- Lack of medical care despite having the funds to pay for it
- Unusual products, services, or subscriptions the elder couldn’t have signed up for
- The elder is left alone in a public place
- Unsafe living conditions, such as:
- Lack of heat
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Fire hazards
- Lack of clean running water
- Unsuitable attire for the weather
- Not bathing the person or leaving them dirty
- Living with soiled bed clothing, dirty clothes, bugs, or filthy conditions
- The existence of bedsores from not moving the patient regularly
- Unusual weight loss or dehydration
Don’t Allow Your Loved One to Suffer
If you believe that your loved one is being abused or neglected while staying in a nursing home, we may be able to help. We have helped many other people in similar situations obtain justice, and we may be able to help you, too. Don’t delay—contact our office right away with any questions you may have.
Call the Charlotte lawyers at Benoit Law Firm, PLLC today at (877) 909-4088 to speak with an attorney about your case.