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Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Most people who work in nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly do their best to care for the residents. Unfortunately, too often, these facilities are woefully understaffed, which can lead to serious neglect. Even worse, some “caregivers” abuse these vulnerable people.

If you have a loved one who’s in a care facility, you can’t always count on them to speak up if something is wrong. They may not realize they aren’t getting the attention they should be. Even if they’re being abused, they may be so medicated or cognitively impaired that they don’t realize it. They may also be capable of self-advocating but may be too afraid to do so. It’s not uncommon for those abusing residents to threaten them with retaliation if they tell someone.

Signs of physical abuse or neglect

What signs can indicate that a loved one is being abused and/or neglected? First, it’s important to know that abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. Intentional neglect is also a form of abuse.

Signs of physical abuse or possibly neglect include bruising, broken bones and weight loss or dehydration. While some signs of physical abuse may be attributed to falls, even if a loved one is falling, that can be a sign that they’re not being watched closely enough or must walk to the bathroom and elsewhere on their own because they can’t get help.

Pressure sores (bed sores) are another common sign of neglect. These result from people lying in bed for too long without being repositioned. While not all sores can be prevented, advanced sores tend to indicate neglect.

Signs of sexual abuse

Signs of sexual abuse generally appear around the genital area and breasts. In addition to bruises and cuts, a loved one may have underwear that’s torn, bloody or otherwise stained. If a patient develops a sexually transmitted disease, that’s cause for concern. Sexual abuse is most common with patients who have advanced dementia or other cognitive impairments because even if they say something, they’re less likely to be believed – even by loved ones.

Signs of emotional abuse

Emotional abuse, such as yelling at a patient, insulting them or refusing to talk or interact with them, can lead an elderly person to become withdrawn, fearful and distrustful. Any noticeable change in a loved one’s personality or behavior should be cause for some concern. Even if it’s being caused by their medication, there may be alternatives that can be prescribed.

If you have a loved one who has suffered abuse or neglect, it’s important to find out more about your options for justice and compensation. Having experienced legal guidance can help.