If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, you may be concerned about abuse—and you have good reason to be concerned. One-third of all of the nursing homes in the United States received a citation for patient abuse between the years 1999 and 2001. Of the citations given, 10 percent of them were issued to nursing homes for abuse violations that placed the elderly victim directly in harm's way. Learn how to spot warning signs of nursing-home abuse so you can protect your loved one if needed.
Signs of Physical Abuse
Physical abuse can happen in several different forms. So you can't simply look for signs that indicate your loved one has been shoved, hit, or punched. It's common for abusive nursing-home employees to physically abuse residents by doing things such as drugging a resident when it isn't necessary, putting a resident in restraints, or keeping a resident confined to his or her room. So while you do need to look for typical signs of physical abuse, such as broken bones, bruises, and accidental injuries, you also need to look for:
- Bruises on your loved one's ankles and wrists
- Indications of drug abuse such as irritability, slurred speech, and mood swings
- Walkers or wheelchairs missing from your loved one's room, meaning that it is impossible for your loved one to get around
Signs of Patient Neglect
There are several signs of neglect that may be easily spotted as soon as you enter a nursing-home resident's room—unsanitary living conditions, lack of proper hygiene, and lack of treatment for an existing medical condition are a few ways that nursing-home residents are typically neglected. However, some forms of neglect aren't seen right away. You may not know that your loved one has been denied food or drinks or that he or she hasn't been allowed to leave their bed for days. Because of this, you need to keep an open line of communication with your loved one. When you visit the nursing home, ask your loved one about the meals he or she has eaten that day and take some time to look for bed sores.
Keep in mind that everyone reacts to abuse in different ways. So you need to watch for any changes in your loved ones behavior, especially if the changes seem sudden or drastic. If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of nursing-home abuse, you need to contact the proper authorities to report the potential abuse and speak to a nursing-home abuse attorney, such as one from The Jaklitsch Law Group, to discuss your options.Share