If the time comes when a loved one must enter a nursing home, families often strive to find the best accommodations and facilities in which they can place their trust. Unfortunately, workers can sometimes abuse this trust. Elder and nursing home abuse is a rampant problem in the United States and can occur for various reasons including underfunded facilities, negligent workers, or inexperienced staff members. While some signs of abuse are easily and quickly recognized, others may go unnoticed, leaving a loved one to endure prolonged hardship. Preventing and stopping this abuse from occurring can begin with knowing the warning signs. Nursing home abuse can include:
- Neglect: When residents do not receive regular care and treatment, signs can include sudden weight loss and injuries such as bedsores. Broken or missing medical supplies such as walkers can also signal neglect. Additionally, be on the lookout for unsanitary conditions. Are the rooms regularly cleaned? Are residents left in soiled undergarments?
- Physical abuse: While broken bones and bruises are highly visible marks of violence, be sure to check and ask about any unusual soreness or treatments that your loved one may have received. If you do notice injuries, ask how they occurred and listen for any unusual or inconsistent explanations.
- Emotional abuse: Signs of psychological abuse often manifest through uncharacteristic patterns of behavior. Has your loved one become unusually withdrawn? If a resident shows signs of nervousness or fear when around facility staff it can be a red flag that emotional abuse is occurring.
- Financial theft and deceit: Whether through stolen credit card numbers or coercion, nursing home staff may be in a unique position to take financial advantage of residents. In some cases, the elderly may not possess the mental capacity to resist this abuse. Monitor financial accounts and watch for unusual spending patterns, large cash withdraws, or purchases that your loved one is unlikely to make.
Your loved ones may not always be in a position to communicate abuse that is occurring. In some cases, a disability such as dementia may prevent a resident from speaking out. Other times, outspokenness may be met with repercussions. You may be your loved one’s best advocate and it is vital to be aware of any possible sign of abuse or neglect.
What to Do if You Suspect Abuse
If you believe that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse, begin gathering evidence and secure legal representation immediately. At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. we are deeply familiar with cases of abuse and can help your family to put these unlawful actions to an end. Our Toledo personal injury attorneys possess more than 50 years of combined experience and have recovered millions of dollars for our past clients. When the health and safety of your loved ones are at risk, our firm can help you to seek justice. Call (419) 318-0772 to request an initial consultation to learn about your legal options.