Cases of elderly neglect and abuse have risen dramatically over the years. With an increased number of Americans living in long-term care facilities, nursing home abuse has become a national concern.
Watch Out for these Warning Signs
To prevent further abuse from happening and to bring abusers to justice, early detection is essential. Here are 4 signs of nursing home abuse that people have to be keener about.
Physical abuse warning signs
Physical abuse is an intentional act of harming another person by means of bodily contact. It can include punching, pushing, shoving, biting, threats or assault, or the improper use of restraints. Victims of physical abuse are 300% more likely to die within the next 3 years, according to the Assisted Living Federation of America. Below are a few signs of physical abuse.
- Bruising, scarring, and other bed injuries that cannot be accounted for
- Unexplained broken bones or dislocation
- Unexplained marks on wrists (signs of being restrained)
- Damage of elder’s possessions such as broken glasses or bloody underclothing
- Questionable circumstances surrounding the death of an elder
Emotional abuse warning signs
Emotional abuse entails verbal and nonverbal acts that psychologically harm the victim. It includes both aggression, such as insulting, humiliating, or demeaning behavior towards the victim, as well as ignoring the victim, and isolating them. Here are a few signs of emotional abuse.
- Constant fear and aggression
- Depression, anxiety, and isolation
- Improbable reasons for injury and contradicting stories
- Withdrawal, disorientation, is wary about talking openly
- Observable change in disposition
Financial abuse warning signs
Financial abuse involves the illegal or improper use of the patient’s material assets. Generally, people closer to the patient commit this crime and one should be especially wary of those with power of attorney. A few signs of it are listed below.
- Unexplained withdrawal from the patient’s account
- Loss of elder’s valuable items
- Questionable change in legal documents such as policies and wills
- Unpaid bills
- Purchasing things that the elder does not need
- Other activities related to finances that the elder cannot possibly do such as signing a document or making an ATM withdrawal when the elder is physically incapable of doing so
Neglect warning signs
Nursing home abuse often comes with intent, but neglect is a breach of duty or substandard care. Abuse is easily noticeable, but neglect is often harder to detect. Negligence puts the patient at a higher risk of disease. To help you spot it more easily, please read the signs listed below.
- Faulty medication
- Unsanitary and unsafe living conditions
Apart from these four general groups of nursing home abuse warning signs, loved ones of elders living in these facilities can also observe how caregivers act around the elderly that they are supposed to take care of. Some of the red flags include outright refusal of caregivers for elders to speak to their visitors by themselves, general indifference to the elder’s needs, and implausible stories to explain certain injuries sustained by the elders.
Where to Report Abuse
If you have noticed some of these signs, it is essential that you bring the issue up with the appropriate people to put a stop to the abuse. Below are agencies or organizations that you can contact just in case you have observed some of the above warning signs.
- The Adult Protective Services
- The National Eldercare Abuse Page
- The Primary Care Physician of the Elder
After reporting, the next best thing is to hire a lawyer who has already handled nursing home abuse cases. By bringing this issue to court, the nursing home can be penalized with permanent closure, thus preventing more abuse from happening. If are you in the NJ area, contact a personal injury lawyer that cares. Call Dezao Law today. (973) 358-6134