For the families of the 1.4 million individuals living in nursing homes across the United States, it is important to understand and recognize the 5 signs of nursing home abuse. There are over 15,000 nursing homes across the country, many of them great, but unfortunately a lot of them are warehouses of abuse, neglect, and despair. If you have a loved one in a nursing home and you suspect abuse is being committed after reading the list below, then it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible so that your loved one’s rights, and life, are protected.
5 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can occur in a variety of scenarios, and at the hands of various individuals. Families should be concerned if they notice any of the following signs:
- Unexplained Injuries or Bruising: It is not uncommon for elderly individuals to easily bruise. Unexplained bruising or injuries, however, is one of the most common signs of nursing home abuse. Be cautious if your loved one has unexplained scratches, broken bones or fractures, dislocated limbs, or pressure sores (bedsores).
- Sudden Changes in Mood or Behavior: You know your loved one, so you will definitely notice changes in mood or behavior. Possible signs of nursing home abuse include anxiety, agitation, fear, embarrassment, withdrawal, depression, or anger that is out of character.
- Malnutrition or Dehydration: Be aware of changes in weight or overall health, dehydration, or problems with feeding or availability of healthy food choices. Signs of abuse or neglect may include dry mouth, reduced urination, swollen tongue, weakness, and cracked dry lips.
- Poor Hygiene or Sanitation: Signs of abuse or neglect related to hygiene and sanitation include soiled bedding or clothes, unsafe or unmaintained living conditions, unwashed body and hair, overgrown nails, improper toileting, poor dental care.
- Changes in Finances or Property: Financial exploitation is one of the most common types of elder abuse. Signs of financial abuse include missing property or cash, forged checks, significant or unexplained withdrawals, unpaid bills, unnecessary purchases or subscriptions, and unusual changes in power of attorney or will documents.
What To Do?
Nursing home abuse is a growing problem that has received much media coverage recently, from the Huffington Post to Pro Publica. Obviously many individuals and families are suffering. If you have noticed any of the 5 signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to protect the safety and well-being of your loved one. Many families find help after consulting with a nursing home abuse attorney to learn more about their rights and potential options for seeking recovery and justice. Should you choose to consult with an attorney, it is better to do it sooner rather than later because there are statutes of limitations at play, and an attorney is best suited to assist you with those. Further, many times hiring an attorney will cost you nothing out of pocket, with the added benefit of getting a professional advocate on your side.