Many families struggle with the decision to place their loved one in a nursing home. A large number of seniors live in a nursing home throughout the United States. Unfortunately, both neglect and abuse of elders in nursing homes are prevalent. It is important to look for the signs of any kind of nursing home abuse to ensure your elderly loved one stays safe and free from harm.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Your elderly loved one has both federal and state protections against elder abuse and neglect. If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, you should always carefully take note of signs that could point to possible nursing home abuse or neglect.
- Physical Signs. Elder abuse and neglect can include malnourishment, dehydration, inattention to medical conditions, or direct physical abuse. If you notice that your elderly loved one has any physical symptoms of malnourishment or dehydration, fractured or broken bones, bedsores, unwashed sheets or clothing, lack of personal hygiene, soiled diapers, sexually transmitted diseases, cuts, bruises, or markings indicating restraint, you should consider whether or not they were victims of elder abuse or neglect.
- Emotional Signs. In some cases of elder abuse or neglect, an elderly resident of a nursing home will not show any outward physical signs, but will exhibit changes in sleeping habits, behavioral changes, anger, frustration, violent acts, depression, or simply act out of character. In some cases, seniors will regress into infantile behavior, or start to withdraw from family and friends. If your elderly loved one begins behaving in this way, it may be because they fear retaliation if they report their abuse or neglect.
- Financial Changes. Some nursing home residents are still allowed to maintain control over their finances. In these cases, there are circumstances where an employee of the nursing home manipulates the elderly resident into giving them access to bank accounts or credit cards. In other cases, they may even have the resident change their estate planning documents to include the employee as a beneficiary. If your elderly loved one has access to any finances, make sure to check on those finances periodically to ensure that they are not being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous nursing home employee.
- Nursing Home Behavior. If the nursing home staff begins to limit your access to your loved one by not allowing phone calls or giving reasons that you are unable to visit your loved one, you should immediately consider whether or not your elderly loved one is being neglected or abused. Contact the nursing home management right away, your state division of Health and Senior Services (or equivalent) and the police, if necessary.
Contact an Attorney
If your elderly loved one has suffered injuries as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, an experienced elder abuse lawyer can help hold those responsible for that harm accountable. Additionally, victims of elder abuse may have the right to compensation for resulting injuries or losses. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Griggs Injury Law at (816) 474-0202 to schedule your initial consultation today.