Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Written by Cooper and Friedman on April 16, 2019
It can be difficult to trust others with the care of a loved one, and when they are unable to speak up for themselves it can be hard to know whether they’re being treated correctly. In accordance with federal and state laws, caregivers, whether in the home, hospital or nursing facility, have an obligation to treat their patients with the utmost care. However, according to the World Health Organization, “Rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 2 in 3 staff reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year.”
Among the many types of nursing home abuse that can occur, only 1 in 24 cases are ever actually reported. In order to ensure your loved one’s care is meeting the standards required by law, here are some of the warning signs of elder abuse:
While not overtly intentional, general neglect can occur as the result of an understaffed or undertrained facility. Take notice if the caregivers are not quick to respond to calls or are not knowledgeable when asked specific questions. Lack of leadership as well as high turnover rates are also red flags.
If your loved one is over medicated, missing medications or meals, developing bed sores from not being moved enough, not being bathed properly, wearing dirty clothes, sleeping in filthy bedding, or not being dressed appropriately for the weather, there is cause for concern.
Some of the most common signs of financial abuse are missing objects, unexplained withdrawals, and suspicious subscription services. However, loved ones should also be on the lookout for signs of health care fraud in the form of unnecessary equipment or treatments, as well charges for services not provided. Unforeseen changes in power of attorney, life insurance policies, titles or wills are also potential signs of an abusive caregiver.
Loved ones should always be permitted alone time with their relative. When visiting, observe the elder’s interactions with the caregiver. If there is frequent tension, your loved one seems exhausted, or is resulting to childish coping mechanisms such as rocking, sucking their thumb, or mumbling, this could be the result of emotional abuse. Other signs include changes in their personality such as withdrawn and uncommunicative behavior, as well as a lack of participation in activities.
Any unexplained physical bruises, cuts, scars, broken bones or infections that don’t coincide with the elder’s condition need to be made note of. Additionally, unsafe living conditions, fire hazards, lack of running water, heat or air conditioning that could cause physical discomfort should be documented.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, contact your primary care physician immediately and consider a new caregiver or facility. Health care professionals are required by law to report signs of nursing home abuse. Additionally, an experienced elder lawyer can help you file and follow up with any reports made to state and local law enforcement agencies.
If you or a loved one has been victimized or harmed by a nursing home facility or other similar organization in Kentucky or Southern, Indiana, contact the attorneys at Cooper & Friedman. As experienced nursing home neglect and elder law attorneys, we can explain your rights, and take the steps necessary to ensure the protection of you or your family member. Call 502-459-7555 now to speak with an attorney for a free case consult.