Nursing Home Abuse

Stay Alert: Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

By January 24, 2020May 21st, 2020No Comments
nursing home staff mistreating elderly woman

For adults older than 65, at least 10% will experience elder abuse at some point. This is awful enough, but what makes it even worse is that these cases of abuse are severely underreported.

It is really scary, given that it is not an easy decision to place your parents or other close relatives in a nursing home.  Unfortunately, there are people out there who work in nursing homes who don’t have your loved ones’ best interests at heart. Here are some signs of elder abuse you need to keep an eye out for.

Don’t want to read the full blog? Watch the video.

The Overall Condition of the Nursing Home

One of the first things that can tip you off to elder abuse is the overall condition of the nursing home. Does it look to be well-kept and clean?  How do the staff treat you and the residents? Do you get an uneasy feeling from either the facilities or the staff members?

Often, people tell you to trust your gut feeling when it comes to judging the character of someone or a place. In this situation, you should definitely do so. Do note that just because a nursing home isn’t 100% tidy or smell completely clean, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is any elder abuse going on. However, it can be a red flag, especially if you notice any of the other signs in this article.

Types of Elder Abuse

Just like with abuse in general, there are several possible types of elder abuse. They are:

  • Physical abuse: This is where the elderly are physically harmed through actions like pinching, slapping, hitting, and pushing.
  • Emotional/psychological abuse: This type of abuse doesn’t leave any physical marks, but instead, mental ones. This can happen through either yelling, threatening, or ignoring the elderly. It can also involve isolating the elderly from their friends and family.
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is when the caretaker takes advantage of the senior in a sexual way. They may also force them to watch sexual acts they’re uncomfortable with.
  • Financial abuse: In this case, money or belongings are stolen from the elderly. Healthcare fraud may happen as well.
  • Neglect: This is where the caregiver purposely ignores the senior’s needs so they’re lacking in quality of life.
  • Abandonment: This is like neglect but to a higher degree. This is where the caretaker leaves the elderly person all alone and doesn’t care for them at all.

If you notice signs of any type of elder abuse, it’s best to work with a lawyer who is experienced in nursing home abuse, as they can help you and your loved ones get justice.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Here are some of the common signs which may be indicative of physical abuse:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Frequent infections
  • Withdrawal from social activities and interactions
  • Poor physical appearance
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme agitation
  • Refusal to speak
  • Refusal to eat or take medications
  • PTSD symptoms (flashbacks, nightmares, trembling, sweating, etc.)

Signs of Emotional/Psychological Abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse can be harder to spot, as these types of abuse don’t leave tangible marks. Also, some of the signs overlap with physical abuse, so it may be hard to tell if it’s just physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, or both.

Here are some potential signs of emotional/psychological abuse:

  • Mood swings
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Changes in their usual mental status
  • Withdrawal from social activities and interactions
  • Poor physical appearance
  • Panic attacks
  • Refusal to speak
  • Refusal to eat or take medications
  • PTSD symptoms (flashbacks, nightmares, trembling, sweating, etc.)

Signs of Financial Abuse

To detect signs of elder financial abuse, you will need to closely monitor your loved one, especially things like their bank accounts and wills. Signs of financial abuse can include:

  • Missing belongings that have some worth
  • Missing checks in their checkbooks (forged checks)
  • Missing cash
  • Sudden change in their will, life insurance, or title of their house
  • Unexplained withdrawals from their bank account

The following can be signs of financial abuse from doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare workers:

  • Overcharging
  • Double charging
  • Falsifying Medicaid or Medicare claims
  • Charging for services that weren’t provided

Signs of Sexual Abuse

This is tough to think about, but the reality is, many seniors are victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes. Studies have found that 0.6% of seniors are exposed to sexual abuse in the USA; however, that number is probably much higher, considering many are either too afraid to speak up or can’t due to medical issues or cognitive impairment.

With sexual abuse, the victim may have a lot of the same signs with physical abuse. However, they may also have bruising in their genital areas and unexplained infections in those areas as well.

Other signs may include:

  • Pain or irritation in the genitals
  • Torn, stained, or bloodied underwear
  • Bloodied bedsheets
  • Difficulty walking or sitting

Signs of Neglect and Abandonment

The following can be signs of neglect and/or abandonment:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor physical appearance
  • Dehydration
  • Bedsores
  • Development of other preventable conditions

Address Elder Abuse Immediately

You and your loved ones trust nursing home caretakers to tend to their needs. Should there be a breach of this trust, it needs to be immediately addressed.

Your loved ones deserve to live out their days of retirement happily and peacefully. Don’t let elder abuse ruin their silver years; if you suspect they’re being mistreated by their caretakers, then you need a reliable attorney on your side.

Get in touch with our law office today if you think your elderly relatives may be experiencing abuse in their nursing homes. We will give you a free case evaluation and we do not charge you anything unless you win.

To read more articles similar to this, check out the Beltz & Beltz blog section.