The signs of nursing home abuse can be physical, emotional, or financial. Some signs are more obvious, while others might take time for family members to notice.
Here are some of the most common indications of nursing home abuse.
Signs of Physical or Emotional Abuse
Physical abuse often leaves signs on a resident’s body, but not always. Emotional and physical abuse can also happen at the same time.
Signs of physical elder abuse include:
- Broken bones
- Evidence of forced restraint
Signs of emotional abuse include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Fear of staff members
- Staff members not leaving you alone with the resident
- Weight loss
- Social isolation
- Behavior changes
- Seeming confused or withdrawn
Over-medicating or under-medicating a patient is also a type of abuse. Some might use inappropriate medications to subdue or restrain residents.
Rape or assault are also types of physical abuse that may happen in nursing homes. The resident could have bruising or other injuries on or around genital areas.
If a family member suspects sexual abuse, they should speak up immediately. Older residents are often too scared or ashamed to tell anyone.
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Signs of Neglect
Most nursing home residents are staying there long-term. Additionally, many residents need daily attention and care, some requiring around-the-clock services.
If a staff member doesn’t provide what care the resident needs, that’s neglect.
Signs that a nursing home is neglecting a resident include:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Weight loss
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Dirty or soiled clothes
- Hair loss
- Poor hygiene
Loved ones will often notice the physical signs of neglect on a resident. They might smell or seem ungroomed even though nursing home staff should be helping with personal hygiene.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Nursing home residents can also suffer from financial exploitation.
Financial abuse can include:
- Changes in the power of attorney
- Missing cash or money from a bank account
- New debit or credit cards
- Will changes
Unfortunately, someone might take advantage of the money a resident holds. Family members might notice strange changes to the loved one’s financial situation or money habits.
Be on the lookout for any signs of abuse. For example, delaying or refusing access to a resident’s room could be a red flag. Staff members might stay nearby when you visit, or residents could seem fearful of staff.
What Is Resident Abuse in a Nursing Home?
According to the Georgia Department of Human Services, nursing home abuse can include physically hurting or distressing a resident. It can also mean a caregiver fails to fulfill a duty to the resident, such as providing necessary medications.
The abuse is usually intentional, but some neglect happens because a facility is understaffed. No matter the reason, neglecting or abusing an older adult is never okay.
Families should be able to put their trust in nursing homes. If you see signs that something could be wrong, don’t wait to take action.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect abuse, bring your concerns to the nursing home’s management. The manager should be willing to investigate the situation. There could be an explanation for what’s happening, but you’ll want to be sure.
If the nursing home doesn’t help you or provide a good answer, you can take additional action by:
- Calling or filing a report with Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Contacting the Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR) division
- Speaking with the Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman
You might also have a legal case against the nursing home. If the facility failed to keep your loved one safe or caused them harm, the business could be liable. The abuser could also face criminal charges.
To learn your legal options, call John Foy & Associates to speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer. We’ll go over the details and discuss what you can do. You might deserve compensation for what your loved one has suffered.
Contact us today to talk about holding the nursing home accountable. We do not collect a fee unless we win your case. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.
How to Recognize Elder Abuse
The above signs can help you notice the possibility of abuse or neglect. Some residents might also self-neglect if they are unhappy or feeling unsafe. Family members know their loved ones best, so don’t be shy about mentioning your concerns to the facility.
Other common complaints regarding elder abuse include:
- Frequent illnesses for which the nursing home doesn’t get prompt treatment
- Serious accidents or death that happen at the facility
- Injuries that require hospitalization or emergency medical attention
- Frequent falls that lead to fractures
- Injuries between residents
Almost two million Americans live in long-term care locations like nursing homes. And sadly, abuse and neglect are too common. Low staff numbers, long hours, and compassionate fatigue can all lead to issues with care.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep anyone in their care safe. If that doesn’t happen, the resident or a family member could have a legal case.
How to Sue a Nursing Home for Abuse
The resident or their family might have a legal claim against the facility. You’ll need to show that:
- The nursing home owed the resident a duty of care.
- The nursing home failed in that duty, and the resident suffered harm.
- The resident has injuries or other damages from the abuse.
An experienced lawyer can help you prepare a legal claim. You might agree to a settlement with the nursing home’s insurance company, but don’t accept any money without consulting your attorney.
Most claims end with an insurance settlement, but some continue to court. Either way, you can seek financial recovery for damages like medical bills and mental anguish.
If a loved one died in a nursing home and you suspect abuse, you could have a wrongful death claim. Specific family members can bring a wrongful death case on behalf of a deceased loved one.
Contact John Foy & Associates today to learn your legal options. Don’t wait to get started. Loved ones should address abuse or neglect as soon as possible. Before it’s too late, call us to find out how we can help.
Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for Free
To get started with a free, no-risk consultation, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.