Unfortunately, abuse in nursing homes is becoming more common. Most of the people put in a nursing home will be cared for properly, but some residents will be abused. Approximately 40 percent of adults will enter a nursing home in their life, which means too many elders will be at risk for abuse. Knowing the signs of abuse and being aware of other factors can help you diagnose potential abuse or even prevent it from happening to your loved one. If you suspect someone is being abused in a nursing home, report it to the nursing home facility immediately. If it involves your loved one, consider contacting a Phoenix nursing home negligence lawyer and request a review of your potential claim or lawsuit.
Nursing home abuse may include:
- Physical Abuse. Physical abuse may include hitting, punching, pinching, or spitting on a patient. Physical abuse can also include lack of care, using excessive force, or the excessive use of restraints on a patient.
- Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse occurs when the patient receives unwanted sexual attention from their caregiver or another resident. Patients who have dementia for example, are unable to express what they want or do not want in the way of sexual or other types of attention.
- Psychological Abuse. Psychological abuse may include yelling, swearing, criticizing or humiliating a patient. Patients who are being psychologically abused may experience a range of possible behavioral changes that you may notice during a visit.
- Neglect. Neglect is one of the biggest issues in nursing homes. Neglect is often unintentional and can occur when a nursing home doesn’t have enough staff to adequately care for their residents. When the patient isn’t provided sufficient food, water, or clothing, this is neglect. It also becomes neglect if their personal hygiene isn’t maintained. Patients who suffer from neglect may experience infection, dehydration, or other health issues.
- Financial Exploitation. Financial exploitation occurs when the caregiver steals money or sensitive financial information from the patient. This may lead to the caregiver using the resident’s personal information to obtain credit cards through identity fraud. It also may include stealing from the resident’s bank account.
- Resident to Resident Abuse. Resident to resident abuse occurs when one resident is abusing another. The abuse may be physical, sexual, or psychological.
Signs of Abuse
- Bed Sores
- Broken Bones
- Weight Loss
- Abnormal Behavior
- Mood Swings
If the caregiver doesn’t want the patient to be left alone with other people, this may be a sign that the caregiver is abusing the patient. If you see any of these signs in a loved one, you should consider asking the patient about what they have experienced. You may need to get law enforcement involved as well. It would also be a good idea to speak with the manager of the facility and inform them of your concerns. Document any of your actions in writing and be sure to include dates and times. Your notes could be important in any future legal action if it becomes necessary to pursue a claim or lawsuit.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, one step you can take is to install surveillance cameras in their room. However, it’s a good idea to get written permission from your loved one before you install the cameras. Only four states in the U.S. have mandatory camera laws in nursing homes to prevent abuse.
Seek Legal Guidance
If you suspect elder abuse, it’s best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An elder care lawyer can review your case and provide you with legal guidance.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into elder law and personal injury practice.