More than 3.2 million adults are living in long-term care facilities and nursing homes in the U.S. As much as 40% of all American adults will enter a nursing home at some point in their lives, and the number of nursing home residents is expected to continue growing. If your loved one is a resident of a long-term care facility or nursing home, you should expect they will only receive the very best care. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Nursing home abuse is a serious concern for seniors, since those who have been abused experienced a 300% greater chance of death in the 3 years following the abuse than seniors who are not abused. As many as 1 out of every 6 nursing him residents may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect every year. More than three-quarters of all nursing home abuse cases are perpetrated by caregivers. These alarming statistics show why it is critical for friends and family members to watch for the signs of nursing home abuse.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities are often dependent on the staff of their facility for their care, assistance, and protection. When staff fails to uphold their duties to the residents in their care, it can constitute abuse or neglect. Examples of Nursing Home Abuse Include:
- Physical Abuse: Any condition or event that causes physical harm. This can include hitting, pinching, overusing restraints or failing to provide physical care.
- Sexual Abuse: Unwanted sexual attention or exploitation. This can include sexual attention or conduct towards a patient who is unable to express their wishes or is cognitively compromised.
- Psychological Abuse: More difficult to recognize, but psychological abuse is marked by yelling, threatening, criticizing, humiliating, or otherwise harming a patient emotionally. Behavioral changes are a key sign of psychological abuse.
- Financial Exploitation: a caregiver who has access to a patient’s financial matter uses their access for their own gain. This includes direct theft, applying for credit in the patient’s name, and stealing from bank accounts.
- Neglect: Often, neglect is a symptom of understaffing. Patient’s hygiene, nutritional needs, and other care is not properly addressed, which can lead to a number of medical conditions, including skin infections, malnutrition, dehydration, and bed sores.
- Resident to Resident Abuse: When residents are permitted to abuse another resident. This can include physical, sexual, financial, and psychological abuse. It is the duty of the staff to intervene and prevent abuse.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It can be a challenge to properly evaluate the care your loved one is receiving, especially when you aren’t there to witness their care on a daily basis. There are signs you can watch out for, which can help you identify abuse and take steps to protect your loved one. Nursing Home Abuse Signs:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Bruising, cuts, or welts
- Bed sores
- Frequent infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Refusal to eat or take medications
- Poor cleanliness or changes in physical appearance
- Mood swings and outbursts
- Reclusiveness or refusal to speak
- Change in mental status
- Caregivers who refuse to leave the patient alone with loved ones
While these signs may not always be an indicator of abuse, they can be a part of a pattern of symptoms that confirms your suspicions. Physical injuries can be caused by simple accidents, but serious injuries should be reported to the resident’s family. If you find your loved one has been injured and you were not notified, it could be a sign of understaffing or abuse. Because of the deadly consequences of abuse, it is important to listen to your gut when you suspect that your loved one isn’t receiving the care they deserve.
Has Your Loved One Suffered Nursing Home Abuse? Get Help Now – (419) 318-0772
If your loved one has suffered at the hands of the people they trusted to care for them and protect them, your family deserves to receive justice. Our Toledo nursing home abuse attorneys will fight for your loved one’s rights and tirelessly advocate for them. At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A., we have more than 100 years of collective legal experience to draw from as we hold nursing home staff responsible for their actions.