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Recognizing Evidence of Nursing Home Abuse

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2015 | Articles

Most of us consider nursing homes and assisted living facilities as places of care and comfort for our loved ones who need the assistance of around-the-clock care in their lives. However, though these places were created as a place of refuge and protection for the elderly, instances of abuse and neglect have been known to happen.

A Family’s Objective

If you suspect that your family member or loved one has become a victim of nursing home abuse, then you will want to be sure that the person or parties responsible answer for their actions and terrible treatment through litigation and are legally brought to justice.

However, in order to present a compelling case to the court regarding nursing home abuse, you must first be able to determine whether or not your loved one has actually been victimized. Sometimes, recognizing the signs of abuse in an elderly loved one can be difficult, especially if that loved one already has mental or physical problems that could impact their behavior and credibility.

The Signs of Abuse

The first thing to understand when you are on the lookout for signs of neglect and exploitation, is that abuse can take many forms. Most people automatically associate the word “abuse” with instances of physical harm, but it can actually refer to many more varying circumstances. For example, sexual abuse may occur in the form of non-consensual contact between elderly residents and staff members, or emotional abuse could take place in the form of humiliation, threats, and insults. The first signs that you should start investigating the possibility of nursing home abuse may be:

  •     Emotional changes in your loved one – If your loved one suddenly seems unusually tense or uncomfortable when you start to visit them, this could be a worrying sign. What’s more, if a commonly outgoing person starts to become quiet and withdrawn, something may be wrong with staff conduct.
  •     Physical changes in your loved one – If your loved one suddenly experiences changes in their weight, suffers from frequent bumps and bruises, illnesses, or unexplained injuries, then this could be a sign that they are being physically abused.

Be careful to observe the actions and appearance of your family member as frequently as possible when you visit them within their nursing home. If the patient in question begins to seem unusually upset and frightened when around certain people, then this should raise alarm bells for you.

You may also notice that your family member has started to exhibit nervous behaviors, such as wrenching hands, biting nails, and rocking backwards and forwards. In certain circumstances, a once caring and loving relative may become aggressive towards their family members, and this could be evidence of nursing home abuse on a verbal level.

Other Signs of Abuse

Neglect is also a form of abuse. Remember that your loved one requires particular items to maintain a decent standard of living – including food, cleansing and grooming products, personal hygiene products, and clean clothes. If you find that your loved one is constantly in dirty clothes, or appears to be malnourished, this could be a further sign of neglect, and therefore abuse.

Making sure that your loved one receives the care that they deserve is crucially important. If you have concerns about nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a legal representative from Makarem and Associates immediately via the phone at 310.312.0299, or you can email [email protected].