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What are some common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect?

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse

Few are more vulnerable than our aging loved ones. We take care to research and find them a nursing home that will meet their needs and maybe even offer some enjoyable benefits. But how do we know they are well-cared for? How do we know they are safe?

If you find yourself asking these questions and are unsure of the answers, know that you are not alone. Although many facilities work hard to provide quality care for their residents, there are others that either cannot due to staffing shortage issues or may choose to focus on financial gain over the needs of their residents. Whatever the reason for the failure, the failure is more than just unethical — it is often illegal.

Before we get into the legalities, the first step is to determine if your loved one is in a safe place.

How will I know if my loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse?

There are times when abuse seems obvious. Times when we see bruises and are informed about unexplained broken bones and other injuries. There are other times that are less obvious. The National Institute on Aging warns us to watch for these less obvious red flags:

  • A change in demeanor. Is it difficult to engage in a conversation with your otherwise vibrant and talkative loved one? It is important to take note of any major personality changes, including a shift from joyful to depressed or an increase in general confusion.
  • Difficulties getting in to see a loved one. Although regular schedules are understandable, repeated difficulties getting in to visit with a loved one, especially when tied with other concerns, can signal a bigger problem.
  • Decline in personal hygiene. Depending on the level of care expected within the facility, a failure to have received aid with basic hygiene needs is also concerning.

If you have concerns about your loved one’s wellbeing it is important to take action. This can include reporting the issue and pursing legal action.

What type of legal action is available?

If nursing home abuse or neglect resulted in serious injury or death, victims and their families can move forward with a personal injury lawsuit. This serves three goals. First, it can result in financial compensation to help cover the expense of additional medical treatment and rehabilitation and it also holds the perpetrator accountable for their wrongdoing. As if these two benefits were not enough, the case can also help to better ensure that other facilities do not make the same mistake, serving to help make the nursing home community a safer place for every resident.