There are no circumstances in which nursing home abuse is acceptable. Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable people in the population and they deserve to live out their final years with respect and dignity.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, you may be concerned about how to recognize the signs of abuse. After all, most elders don’t particularly enjoy staying in a nursing home, even under the most favorable circumstances.
Below, we’ve outlined the warning signs of nursing home abuse you should keep an eye out for.
#1 - Unexplained physical injuries.
If your loved one sustains physical injuries that cannot be easily explained, this may be an indication that physical abuse has occurred. Some common injuries that can cause reasonable suspicion of physical abuse include:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Sprained joints
- A diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
#2 - Abrupt changes in your loved one’s behavior.
Sudden changes in your loved one’s actions may indicate that emotional abuse has taken place. Behavioral changes can look like any of the following:
- Withdrawing from social functions.
- Forced isolation by the caregiver.
- I.e. when the caregiver won’t permit family members or friends to physically visit with the resident.
- A staff member who takes care of your loved one appears to be verbally hostile, detached, or belittiling.
Sometimes, elders are unaware they are being psychologically abused because of the severe manipulation they endure. However, asking specific questions can help you uncover the incidence of emotional abuse.
#3 - An unexplained sexually transmitted infection.
A sexually transmitted infection or disease may indicate sexual abuse. In addition, trauma around the genitalia can suggest that your loved one has been sexually abused.
#4 - Deteriorating personal hygiene.
If you begin to notice that your loved one’s hygiene routine has not been as diligently kept, this can be a warning sign of neglect or abandonment. Similarly, the following may also indicate the incidence of neglect or abandonment:
- There are signs that your loved one’s medication isn’t being properly administered.
- The facility doesn’t provide enough food.
- Your loved one’s living space is unreasonably grimy.
- Your family member’s clothes or bedding are soiled.
- Bedsores or ulcers appear on your loved one’s body.
- The facility fails to provide for your loved one’s basic needs, with such utilities as:
#5 - Changes in your loved one’s financial situation.
If you notice that your loved one’s financial situation seems to be changing without a reasonable cause, this may be an indication of financial abuse. Be sure to watch out for these warning signs as well:
- Unpaid monthly bills.
- Sudden incapability of paying bills.
- Giving extravagant and unforeseen gifts, especially to people who aren’t family members.
- Relinquishing control over finances to a caregiver.
- Your loved one cannot explain certain monetary transactions.
#6 - Undue diagnostic tests.
Sometimes, healthcare fraud occurs in nursing homes in the following ways:
- Sudden or seemingly unnecessary medical care or supplies.
- Your loved one’s caregivers cannot explain why he or she must have certain supplies or care.
- Your loved one’s insurance policy has been billed for medical services that he or she never received.
Identifying nursing home abuse is not always easy, but you’ve taken an important first step by reading the information presented here. If you suspect your loved one is enduring abuse in a nursing facility, it is critical that you reach out to a skilled nursing home abuse attorney right away.
Our team is highly skilled in this area of the law and we have helped many others in similar situations obtain justice on behalf of their loved ones. We want to do everything we can to help you too.
Call Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. today at (816) 484-3776 for a free consultation regarding your case.