When you move a loved one into a nursing home, you expect them to receive the best treatment. But what if that isn’t the case? What if the worst case scenario occurs? Unfortunately, this is truer than what you would want to believe.
Nursing home abuse is a common issue in our society. Your loved one is suffering from old age, making them a vulnerable target to predators. It’s difficult to identify nursing home abuse. And unfortunately, most cases go unreported.
Nursing home abuse should be stopped. Here is everything you need to know about nursing home abuse and when to hire a nursing home abuse attorney.
Look for Signs
Nursing home abuse has many factors. Examples include neglect, physical and sexual abuse. To make sure your loved one is receiving proper care, there are symptoms of abuse that can be easily identifiable.
If you notice any of these abuse signals, contact a nursing home abuse attorney.
Bad Hygiene or Unsanitary Conditions
Nursing home staff is supposed to provide basic hygiene for your loved one.
This includes bathing, brushing hair, cutting fingernails, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and changing diapers (if necessary). If your loved one is suffering neglect, bad hygiene is the easiest symptom to spot.
Sometimes, your loved one has messy hair or the staff hasn’t been able to trim their fingernails. This isn’t neglect, but it is if you notice these issues occurring frequently.
If this occurs, have a discussion with the staff. It could be a minor misunderstanding, such as lack of training.
In addition, check and see if their living conditions are suitable.
The nursing home should be clean and should promote a safe environment. If you notice the facility is dirty and other residents have bad hygiene, this means the staff is neglecting the entirety of the nursing home.
Starvation and Weight Loss
Weight loss and loss of appetite are symptoms of serious conditions associated with old age. But these can also be signs of abuse. Make sure you report any significant weight loss or if you don’t notice meals served to residents.
If your loved one is able to speak, check and make sure they’re given water.
Chances are if your resident isn’t provided with a nutritious meal and sustenance, other residents are also starved or dehydrated. You should report the home and call an attorney.
Lack of Mobility
Lack of mobility is a common symptom of old age and can be a sign of an illness unrelated to nursing home abuse.
But nursing home aids assist your loved one when moving around the facility, whether they can walk, use a cane, or are in a wheelchair.
Do you notice your loved one is in their room? Are they lying in bed all of the time? Or do they struggle to move because they’re not being assisted?
This could be a sign of nursing home abuse. Good aids and nurses make sure residents are active, engage in activities, and may even help them exercise.
If your loved one is constantly in bed or struggles to move independently, you should report the facility.
The most common sign of physical abuse is physical injuries. These include bruises, broken bones, cuts, scrapes, and any injury that can cause bleeding.
These symptoms may not be from physical violence. Your loved one could try and move for themselves, but they end up breaking a bone or falling.
Whether your loved one isn’t receiving assistance or is being physically battered, call the authorities if you notice signs of injury.
They’re Acting Differently
Behavioral changes are normal for someone who is aging. But if your loved one is more emotional than usual, this is a sign of mental abuse or neglect. Common emotions felt are fear, anxiety, anger, and resentment.
Being resentful or depressed can be symptoms of aging and other issues such as dementia. But what if you know your loved one doesn’t have dementia? If feelings of depression are met with fear, these are signs of abuse.
Address these issues with the home. If you notice additional issues, contact authorities.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
If you notice problems that point to nursing home abuse, you can take legal action.
It’s recommended you contact the police as soon as you suspect or witness abuse. After contacting police, gather your evidence and contact a nursing home abuse attorney.
Here are other options when reporting nursing home abuse:
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Hotline
Depending on the advice given by your nursing home abuse attorney, you have a better chance of filing a report with a nursing home abuse hotline.
Contact an elder or adult abuse hotline and file your report with the abuse signs you notice and any proof you have.
Keep in mind, each state has a different hotline. You may have to provide information on the nursing home and give your loved one’s information. Have this information ready when filing your report.
Contact Your Loved One’s Primary Care Team
If your loved one is on health insurance, contact their primary care doctor. If applicable, contact their social worker or their nurse. Report the signs of abuse or other forms of proof.
Their primary care physician will attend the home and observe the situation.
If you notice severe symptoms, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, or starvation, call 911. When you get the police involved, you’ll need a nursing home abuse attorney.
Do You Need a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
Nursing home abuse needs to be addressed.
Abuse is terrible for your loved one and creates a stressful situation for you. You’ll have to prepare to move your loved one into a new facility or they will have to live with you or another family member.
There are legal actions you can take against the nursing home. However, you’ll need legal help and any proof of abuse. When leaving your loved one in a nursing home, make sure you’re attentive and look for signs of abuse.
If you suspect you need us, Stephen Babcock is standing by to help you.
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