When it comes time to put our loved ones in a nursing home, we can’t help but consider the reasons why we shouldn’t. Will they truly be happy? Will they have the freedom and quality of life that they desire? Most importantly, will they be safe and free from nursing home abuse?
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, from 1999 to 2001, almost a third of nursing homes were cited for violations that could have or did cause harm to their residents. Even in more recent times, abuse of nursing home residents is still a big problem. About half of nursing home attendants admitted to abuse or neglect in 2010.
However, we can’t always let our fears get in the way of our or our loved ones’ futures. After all, not all nursing home staff are cruel and abusive. Nevertheless, we must keep our eyes peeled. The seven following signs of nursing home abuse can help you pinpoint the safety of your loved one.
- 1 1. There are physical wounds on the resident’s body:
- 2 2. The living conditions of the facility are dangerous and/or inhumane:
- 3 3. Something seems “off” with their finances:
- 4 4. The resident complains of genital pain, itchiness, or infections:
- 5 5. They are suffering from weight loss:
- 6 6. The resident no longer seems as happy or as peppy as they once were:
- 7 7. Their medical conditions have been getting worse since moving into the facility:
1. There are physical wounds on the resident’s body:
While nursing home abuse isn’t limited to physical abuse, it is still important to verify that your loved one is physically safe in their nursing home environment. Cuts, bruises, red marks, pinch marks, bedsores from not be turned regularly by staff, sprains, dislocations, broken bones, and other injuries are potential signs of abuse.
Even if you don’t know the source of the wounds of your family member, it is important to document and take pictures of the wounds in case they are a result of abuse that needs to get legally reported.
2. The living conditions of the facility are dangerous and/or inhumane:
When visiting your loved one, what does their room look like? Is it neat and tidy or are their cobwebs, dirty carpets, dusty windows, and disintegrating pieces of furniture? A filthy facility is not a safe facility. The health and safety of a nursing resident rely on a clean, organized, and up-to-date place to stay.
3. Something seems “off” with their finances:
Sadly, the financial exploitation of elderly individuals, in general, is all too common. The criminals who engage in these heartless acts assume elders are too naive when it comes to catching their illegal behavior. Thus, they deem these folks easy targets. Regardless of the age of their victim(s), what they are doing is 100% illegal.
Signs your loved one is getting financially exploited by a nursing home staff member include strange credit card transactions, sudden changes in their financial situation, life insurance policy or property title name changes, or withdrawals from their bank account that they did not make.
4. The resident complains of genital pain, itchiness, or infections:
If your family member is suddenly talking about genital or breast pain, genital itchiness, genital infections, or unexpected genital bleeding, it is possible that they may be experiencing sexual abuse with or without their knowledge in the nursing home they are residing in.
Sudden pain sitting down, torn pants or undergarments, ripped bed sheets, or bloody undergarments may be other potential symptoms of nursing home sexual abuse. Remember, even if your loved one is well aware of what’s going on behind closed doors, they may not share the information with you out of humiliation or fear.
5. They are suffering from weight loss:
It’s normal every now and then to drop a few pounds if, say, we are under stress. It is also normal to drop some weight if we are working out or have been partaking in a new, healthy diet. What’s not normal, however, is losing significant weight out of the blue. This can be a sign of depression, a medical problem, or even nursing home neglect.
6. The resident no longer seems as happy or as peppy as they once were:
If your family member’s personality is suddenly starting to seem grimmer, and they generally seem unhappy, this is another sign of nursing home abuse whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or neglectful abuse. Depression, anger, or even unexplained anxiety can all be side effects, which all have symptoms of their own.
Keep in mind, however, that your loved one can be suffering from a change in personality for different reasons. Late-onset mental illness, dementia or Alzheimer’s, the recent death or a loved one, or even adjustment problems to their new living situation may also contribute.
7. Their medical conditions have been getting worse since moving into the facility:
It isn’t uncommon for medical conditions to get better or worse over time. Stress, poor sleep and nutrition, and the like can exasperate a medical problem unexpectedly. This is true with many chronic and acute conditions.
However, if your loved one’s health is declining quickly, suddenly, or rapidly, it is possible that they are under significant stress or are not receiving their medications and/or physical care for their medical condition that they are supposed to be getting at their nursing home.
If a loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect, whether it is physical or not, contact Robenalt Law to see what the legal options are.
Happiness and safety should be top priorities when it comes to nursing home residents. However, the sad reality is, one too many nursing home attendants have admitted to abusing and/or neglecting some of their facility’s residents. The statistics are sickening and anxiety-provoking for anyone thinking of putting a loved one in one of these homes.
When one of your family members is residing in a nursing home, it is vital to pay close attention to their physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing when you do see them or get in contact with them. Looking for the signs can help you come to the conclusion that your loved one is safe; they won’t always speak out.
If you can confirm that your loved one may be being mistreated in their nursing home environment, reporting it legally is critical. Not only can you keep your family member as safe as possible by doing so and allow them to receive potential compensation for their injuries or losses, but you can also help prevent future cases of nursing home abuse.