As people get older and more frail, they also are more vulnerable to abuse, whether in their own home, at a relative’s home, or at a nursing facility. Often, these cases of abuse and neglect are overlooked or go unnoticed, even by the family members or other loved ones.
Older people may not have the capacity to fight back against bullying, abuse, and neglect, due to their physical and mental limitations which provides opportunities for others to take advantage of them. The signs of abuse are sometimes mistaken for mental and physical deterioration, but if you feel that your loved one is in a harmful situation, you must take adequate steps to ensure their safety and well-being.
Understanding and identifying these warning signs is absolutely critical for you to be able to uncover the health and safety risks for your loved ones and take appropriate actions to mitigate those risks.
Understanding Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Any harm caused to nursing care facility residents by the caretakers, whether intentional or unintentional, may be considered abuse as it can lead to mental and emotional trauma, medical emergency, or even death.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is more frequent than we think, partly due to reasons such as improper training, understaffing, and work overload. These are some of the reasons that may lead some nursing care staff members to take out their frustration and anger on the elderly residents.
Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes and Their Warning Signs
Nursing home abuse often encapsulates more than physical injuries and may include emotional harm, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse and neglect. Therefore, it is important for you to identify the warning signs and know the type of nursing home abuse being meted out to your loved ones, so you can help them accordingly, and properly.
Look for any changes in the behavior of your loved one, and some of these additional warning signs we are listing below, if you suspect that they are facing nursing home abuse.
Warning Signs of Physical Abuse
- Unexplained sprains, dislocations, or broken bones
- Unexplained bruises or scars on the body
- Failure to take medications on time, or properly
- Unexplained signs of restraint, such as rope marks on the wrist
- Broken eyeglasses
- The caregiver’s reluctance to let you spend time alone with the older relative or loved one
Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Signs of sudden and unexplained mental deterioration and unusual behavior, such as mumbling, sucking one’s thumb, rocking, etc.
- Caregiver’s controlling or threatening behavior towards your loved one
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Unexplained infections in the genital area
- Unexplained bruising near the breasts or the genitals
- Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
- Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding without any known medical condition
Warning Signs of Neglect
- Leaving the elderly person unattended in a public area
- Hazardous living conditions, such as lack of heat, lack of running water, or faulty electrical wiring
- Making the elderly person wear clothes unsuitable for the weather
- Leaving the elderly person unbathed or dirty
- Soiled bed clothing, bugs, or dirty conditions
- The elderly patient having bedsores from not being turned regularly
- Unexplained weight loss or dehydration
Warning Signs of Healthcare Fraud
- The elderly person getting much less medication than required
- Same services charged multiple times
- Inadequately trained nursing home care staff
- Insufficient nursing home care staff
- Poor care services, in spite of being paid in full
Causes for Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
While there are many common causes for elder abuse in nursing homes, one overarching reason is the inadequately trained caregivers who may be unfit to help the elderly. Insufficient training leads to stress and frustration among the nursing home employees, making some of them take it out on the residents by harming them, intentionally or otherwise.
Shortages of trained staff also make the abuse more likely. Without sufficient staff to look after their needs, nursing home residents are unable to get the care and attention that they need. This type of chronic neglect can lead to several long-term physical and emotional problems.
To summarize, nursing home care staff may end up neglecting or abusing the elderly residents if they are overworked, lack adequate training, or are simply unsuitable to care for the elderly.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Morrow, GA
Thankfully, there are certain steps that you can take if an elderly loved one suffers from nursing home abuse. The first and foremost among the steps is to inform the relevant authorities about the abuse. After reporting the abuse to the relevant authorities, it is important that you contact a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer.
At Stein & Fox, LLC a lawyer from our trusted legal team can help you and your loved ones get full compensation while holding abusive staff members responsible. To discuss your case with one of our attorneys, call us today at 770-691-6937 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.