Every day, countless people in the US suffer from nursing home abuse and neglect at the hands of caretakers who are entrusted to protect the weak and vulnerable. Nursing home abuse can take many shapes and forms, and it’s important to know how to spot the signs so that you can take action.
1- Poor Hygiene and Dangerous Living Conditions
One of the most common ways in which abuse takes place in nursing homes is through neglect. Perhaps your loved one’s living conditions are concerning; their living space is too warm or cold, the electrical wiring is damaged or faulty, or maybe it is messy and cluttered. Likewise, neglect can present as not being dressed appropriately for the season, soiled or dirty clothing, bedsores, rapid weight loss, and dehydration.
2- Changes in Emotional Health
When an elderly person is being abused in a nursing home, their emotional and mental health might also take a turn for the worse. They might develop unprecedented issues with their memory, and they might also exhibit behaviors such as thumb-sucking or mumbling. They might even rock or fidget in place. These behaviors are often the result of the nursing home resident witnessing controlling and abusive behaviors on behalf of his/her caretaker.
3- Evidence of Sexual Abuse
Unfortunately, nursing homes are no stranger to sexual abuse, but in some cases, this type of horrific treatment can be somewhat easier to detect without a direct admission from the resident themselves. Evidence of sexual abuse includes the sudden onset of unexplained STIs or other complications in the genitalia, vaginal or anal bleeding that cannot be linked to the resident’s existing conditions, stained/torn underwear, and bruises on or near the genitals and breasts.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, your first steps should be to bring the matter to the attention of the nursing home’s management team. Try to remain calm as you deliver an entire account of your findings of your loved one’s suspected abuse, and be sure to document the report. If you speak in person with the nursing home management or over the phone, you can record the conversation for your records. If the correspondence takes place electronically, you can copy and save it. You also have the option of reporting the abuse to APS (adult protective services) and doctors/personnel who oversee your loved one’s health.
If you believe your loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of a nursing home caretaker, you might be able to hold the business accountable from a legal standpoint and seek compensation. Reach out to an experienced lawyer if you suspect your loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect. Your lawyer will help you navigate the legal process of holding the liable party accountable for the abuse.
Always keep in mind that nursing home abuse victims likely might be too afraid to report abuse or neglect. They may be completely incapable of doing so from a cognitive standpoint. This is why it’s important to speak out when you feel that abuse is taking place. With your action, you can easily prevent your loved one from even more suffering.