5 Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse You Shouldn’t Take Lightly

Nursing home abuse is mistreating individuals in nursing facilities or other assisted living homes.  For many reasons, you or your loved one may be in a nursing home or assisted living facility. These homes care for seniors, people with disabilities, and those in recovery from various ailments, including addictions and traumatic brain injuries. However, nursing home abuse is the sad reality of living in such facilities. They happen too often and leave victims traumatized and even dead.

Nursing abuse takes many forms, from intentional verbal abuse, physical abuse, financial exploitation, and social isolation to failure to deliver care at a level an average caregiver would provide under similar circumstances. Sadly, most victims of nursing home abuse don’t speak up due to the stigma surrounding these abuses.

If your loved one is in a nursing home, learning to recognize instances of abuse and taking immediate action to get them to help can save their life. Always work with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to get your loved one the justice and compensation they deserve.

What is nursing home abuse?

Nursing home abuse is a broad term for the inhumane treatment of individuals in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It often takes forms such as:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial exploitation
  • Abandonment and malnutrition
  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Social isolation

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime,  most cases of abuse are physical, followed by sexual, psychological, and gross neglect cases. While most perpetrators are caregivers, some cases involve resident-vs-resident and resident vs visiting family or friends.

The same organization also says that while abuse can happen to anyone,  factors like mental health problems, past trauma, gender, and social and economic situation make individuals more vulnerable.

For example, women are more likely to be abused or mistreated than men. The same goes for people of lower socioeconomic status and individuals with Alzheimer’s or poor physical health.

In addition, people who’ve suffered abuse in the past are highly likely to experience abuse again. Learning to recognize signs of nursing home abuse is essential. Here is a look at five common signs of nursing home abuse.

Physical Injuries

Physical injuries include fractured or broken bones, head injuries, bed sores, sprained joints, bruises, and burns. If you notice these signs, try to get an explanation from the individual and the caregiver.

If they have CCTV, check the footage to see if their story is true. If you don’t get a good explanation, sound the alarm and let authorities conduct an investigation.

1. Signs of Emotional Abuse

Signs of emotional abuse include verbal, abusive, and demeaning language, forced isolation, denial of visitation rights, sudden changes in behavior, and loss of interest in social activities. 

2. Signs of Sexual Abuse

If your loved one is suddenly diagnosed with STDs without sufficient explanation or has bruises, swelling, or other injuries around their genitals, they’re probably being sexually abused. Report the matter to the relevant authorities for investigation.

3. Signs of Abandonment and Neglect

Abandonment and neglect can be deliberate or a result of overwhelmed caregivers. Either way, they leave your loved ones at risk of malnutrition, deteriorating personal hygiene, and undermedicated or overmedicated. Also, watch out for signs such as dirty living spaces, soiled clothing, ulcers, bedsores, and lack of water, heat, or electricity.

4. Signs of Financial Exploitation

The caregivers in nursing homes may be taking advantage of your loved one’s finances. If your loved one is suddenly handing out expensive gifts, or making changes to their Will and Trust, look into the matter carefully and ensure they can account for every financial transaction. The exploitation may reach a point where your loved one cannot pay bills they’d have comfortably settled in the past.

Once your loved one starts living in a nursing home, any signs of money troubles warrant an investigation. Work with an experienced financial planning attorney to get to the bottom of the matter.

5. Signs of Healthcare Fraud

Healthcare malpractice is another form of nursing home abuse. It may include unnecessary medical treatments, the purchase of unneeded medical tools, and excessive diagnostic testing. Some unscrupulous caregivers may also try to bill insurance providers for medical services that weren’t even provided. Watch out for these signs.

Nursing home abuse has various risks, including health-related costs and economic consequences. According to the National Council on Aging, it triples the chances of hospitalization and increases the risk of death by 300%. If you or your loved one is experiencing abuse in a nursing home, work with an experienced lawyer to gather evidence, file a compensation claim, and seek justice.

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