Nursing Home Abuse: What You Should Know

While you want nothing more than to be able to care for your aging loved one, you may not be able to provide the care that he or she requires.

In order to ensure that your aging loved one receives proper care, you have decided that a nursing home is in his or her best interest. You expect that the nursing home you choose for your loved one will provide the best care possible; however, sadly, this may not be the case. It is estimated that some form of abuse occurs at 1 in 3 nursing homes.

Suspecting that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse is, no doubt, alarming. You feel as if you have let your family member down and you worry about his or her well-being. While it’s certainly devastating, taking action and putting a stop to the abuse as soon as possible will prevent your loved one from enduring further harm.

If a family member is a resident of a nursing home, it’s important to be aware of the signs of abuse and know what you should do if you suspect that he or she is being victimized.

Types of Abuse

Abuse can occur in a multitude of ways in a nursing home. Some of the most common forms of abuse include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Mental abuse
  • Assault and battery
  • Lack of appropriate care (not receiving proper medical care, not being bathed, not being fed, etc.)
  • Rape, sexual assault or battery
  • Physical restraint or seclusion that is unreasonable and unnecessary
  • Use of a chemical restraint (psychotropic medication) for any reason that is not consistent with what a physician has authorized

Know the Signs

If your loved one lives in a nursing home, being aware of the signs of abuse is a necessity in order to ensure your loved one is not harmed. The following are common signs that may indicate your loved one is being abused:

  • Bed sores
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Bruises, cuts or scraps
  • Head injuries
  • Fractures
  • Infections
  • Suddenly emotionally upset
  • Suddenly agitated
  • Extremely withdrawn
  • Stops speaking
  • Frightened, especially when a caretaker is near
  • Poor hygiene
  • Sudden changes in behavior, such as sucking, rocking or biting

Who Commits Abuse in Nursing Homes?

Acts of abuse in a nursing home can be committed by anyone; administrators, employees, fellow residents, and visitors. For example, a nurse may not administer medications or provide the necessary care, or an administrator may use financial information that’s stored within the facility’s system to transfer money to his or her personal bank account.

Why does Abuse Occur in Nursing Homes?

Just as there isn’t a definite answer to why abuse occurs in any situation, there isn’t a definitive explanation for why abuse occurs in nursing homes. However, it can be speculated that because of the poor physical and mental state of many nursing home residents, they are easy targets for those who wish to commit acts of abuse.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect that a loved one or any other resident receiving care in a nursing home is being abused, you should contact an attorney that specializes in elder law as soon as possible

An attorney will be able to look deeper into the situation and determine if abuse is, in fact, occurring. A lawyer will collect the necessary evidence to either prove or disprove the allegations. If abuse is likely, an attorney will be able to provide the proper legal guidance and support that is needed.

If you have reason to believe that your loved one is being victimized by abuse, don’t delay; contact our office today. Our attorneys will assist you and your family member with this delicate matter.

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