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Is your loved one abused or neglected in their nursing home?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

As our elders grow older and need more help, decisions are often made for them. Their medical plans and treatments are usually controlled by others, like their adult children, caregivers, or nursing home staff. This dependence makes them vulnerable to abuse and neglect, especially if they cannot speak up about it. The risk of abuse is also higher in institutions like nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

What kind of abuse tends to happen in nursing homes?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), around 1 in 10 people aged 60 and above face some form of elder abuse in institutions and community settings. This includes:

  • Hurting or injuring nursing home residents, like hitting, using too many restraints, or giving too much or too little medication.
  • Not providing nursing home residents with proper medical care, such as not changing soiled or dirty clothes or not giving them enough food and water.
  • Any unwanted sexual contact, especially if the resident is unable to give consent.
  • Verbal insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and forced isolation
  • Misusing an elder’s money or resources, including stealing and coercing them into signing documents
  • Leaving a nursing home resident alone without proper care.

Not all nursing homes and long-term care facilities are abusive or neglectful, but there are enough cases for it to be a valid concern for your elderly loved ones. Make sure to trust your instincts and investigate if something seems wrong.

What signs do you need to look out for?

Abuse can look different for each person. However, the most common warning signs can come as sudden, inexplicable changes to their mental and physical health. Keep an eye out for:

  • Mysterious injuries like bruises, cuts, or pressure sores.
  • Erratic mood or behavior, such as increased anxiety, isolation, or fear.
  • Unusual financial transactions or changes in their financial status.
  • Signs of poor hygiene and living conditions, such as bug infestations or missing medical aids.

It’s critical to note and report these signs as soon as possible, especially when they start negatively affecting an elder’s overall health.

What to do if you suspect abuse or neglect

If you think your loved one is being abused or neglected, act promptly. Write down details, take photos, and note dates and incidents. Report these to relevant authorities like the New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman or Adult Protective Services. Legal counsel can also help protect your loved one’s rights, advocate for their safety, and ensure proper compensation.