Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Personal care facilities in the United States provide long-term care for elderly residents who need to have the best care available. Instead one of the concerns that are proven out is nursing home abuse. This can fall into two categories both that result in mistreatment of the elderly resident, which can affect their health and quality of life. Although generally not thought of in this way — there is a difference between abuse and neglect and we will cover the differences.
Types of Elder Abuse
Abuse: This involves rash treatment that can result in injury, intimidation, punishment that can cause pain or mental anguish. This is a type of treatment that can also include unreasonable confinement.
Abuse may include:
- Threats that are verbal or physical
- Unnecessary restraints
- Assault and battery including slapping, pushing, pinching, shaking, beating, or kicking.
- Use of chemical or psychotropic medications as a method of restraint.
- Sexual assault or battery can include rape or other forms of sexual assault.
Neglect: This is another type of abuse that whether intentional or not is the failure to provide the senior with the proper care and services necessary for their personal care. This is covered in-depth when becoming a nurse. It may include proper medical care, failure to keep the patient free from pain or cause senior anxiety.
- Lack of proper medical care for existing medical problems or new medical issues.
- Depriving the elderly resident of food or water continually or for prolonged amounts of time.
- Lack of personal care including bathing and other necessary care.
The Warning Signs of Physical and Verbal Abuse
There are warning signs the family may see when visiting the senior family member living in a long-term care facility that indicates nursing home abuse. These signs may include:
- The elderly person being upset, withdrawn, non-communicative, or agitated.
- Does not speak or is reluctant to speak about care facility staff members.
- Sudden changes in behavior such as fear of being touched, rocking, sucking, or biting.
- Bruises, wounds, welts, or cuts that are unexplained and in various states of healing.
- Incidences of broken bones or fractures.
- Falls and head injuries.
- Pressure ulcers or bed injuries.
- Signs of sexual abuse may include fear of being touched, STDs, genital infections, bruising near the genitals, along with other signs of an attack.
- Signs of dehydration
- Signs of malnutrition
- Infections or frequent infections
- Rapid weight loss or appearance of rapid weight gain.
- Signs the elderly resident is unclean or unsanitary conditions.
- Heavy medication or the patient sedated is not a common medical treatment to the family.
- Frequent illness and illness not reported to the family and physician.
These are some of the signs that can indicate elder abuse and should be promptly pursued since it affects the quality of life for the senior citizen that can greatly affect their health and emotional or mental health.
One other type of abuse of the elderly that can happen involves financial abuse. This can show in the form of unexplained bank withdrawals, changes in the power of attorney, property, or wills. There may also be names added to credit cards or bank accounts and ATM withdrawals when the patient is at a long-term care facility and doesn’t go out. It can also happen with the ordering of goods or services the elderly resident signed for that is out of character or would not be useful for their age group.
What to do When Elder Abuse is Suspected
If elder abuse or neglect is suspected by the family or friends the place to begin is by consulting a personal injury attorney that has experience in elder abuse and medical malpractice. They can investigate the situation and hold the responsible parties accountable. This personal injury attorney has the resources to thoroughly investigate when the family has suspicions but is not sure how to go about stopping the behavior affecting the older adult.