If your loved one is in a nursing home, they depend on the high level of care that the home is supposed to supply, and they depend on you to monitor their level of care. If your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect, early recognition of the signs can be crucial to protecting him or her from suffering, worsening condition, and, ultimately, a shorter life.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
In most cases of nursing home abuse, elders are reluctant to speak up because they are afraid of reprisal by the abuser, so it is important to look for the signs. Nursing home abuse may leave both physical and psychological signs. Physical signs of abuse include:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries
- Marks on wrists, ankles, and elsewhere from physical restraints
- Torn or missing clothing
- Sudden changes in medication that make your loved one less responsive or capable
Psychological signs of abuse include:
- Changes in personality or behavior
- Reluctance to talk, especially when this reluctance is associated with particular times, people, or events
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in behavior, attitude, or speech when a certain individual is present
If you recognize some of these signs, it is possible that your loved one is a victim of abuse.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
The most common signs of neglect in a nursing home are:
- Unkempt appearance
- Soiled clothes or a full catheter bag
- Unclean area
- Low energy
- Weight loss (look for sunken eyes, a bony appearance, and loose-fitting clothes)
- Thinning hair
- Increasingly dull skin
- Cracks around the lips
- Slow healing
- Bed sores – during every visit check your loved one's head, shoulders, elbows, buttocks, and heels, as these are the most common locations for bed sores
If you recognize several of these signs, your loved one may be suffering from nursing home neglect, and you should talk with one of our experienced attorneys to protect your loved one.
How to Check for Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
To protect your loved one from nursing home abuse or neglect, the best thing you can do is to make frequent visits. Make your visits at different times during the day and night so that you get to see all the nursing home staff. Make your visits long enough that you can get a sense of how frequently the staff checks on your loved one. Make sure some of your visits are over mealtimes so you can monitor your loved one's eating. When possible, take your loved one out of the nursing home for activities. Sometimes this will help abuse or neglect victims to feel free to talk.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it is important to act quickly, not only for your loved one, but also for others in the home that may also be suffering. Please call (251) 432-2277 or email Long & Long today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you and your loved one.