Nursing home mistreatment occurs on a daily basis in elder care facilities across the nation. Mistreatment may manifest in the form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and even financial theft. An abused resident often experiences shame and loss of self-esteem as a side effect of the mistreatment. Threats from abusers may make it impossible for them to tell loved ones what is happening.
It is so important for family members of nursing home residents to maintain an active involvement in their loved one’s life and care program. Frequent visits at different times of the day can help paint a clear picture of the quality of life a resident experiences and allow family members to identify any unusual changes in behavior.
Signs of Physical Abuse
State and federal laws consider most types of unwanted harmful physical contact as abuse, including slapping, restraining, pushing, and shaking. Physically abused residents may have frequent bruises, cuts, or abrasions on the skin, but many instances of physical abuse involve no physical marks. Oftentimes, nursing home staff members and the injured resident will have no concrete explanation for the marks, or staff members will create elaborate stories that seem unlikely. Physical restraint marks may indicate unreasonable treatment. Residents who have become victims of sexual abuse may seem timid, embarrassed, and socially withdrawn.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse victims tend to withdraw from interaction, sleep a lot, stay confined in their rooms, and refuse visitors. They may avoid eye contact and refuse to eat. The emotional abuse and ongoing threats often make these victims develop depression and lack of interest in usual hobbies or family affairs. Changes in medication may indicate an abuser is manipulating the resident further into submission. Residents may become upset, agitated, or exhibit coping behaviors like biting, sucking, or rocking.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect happens when nursing home staff members fail to provide necessary, life-sustaining care that keeps residents vital and engaged. Signs of nursing home neglect include sudden significant weight loss, dehydration, worsening health conditions, medication changes, and changes in personality or behavior. Frequent infections, unsanitary living conditions, or poor personal hygiene may indicate daily living services are being withheld.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility, hiring an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer who is trained to recognize illegal treatment can help put a stop to it immediately and hold the abusers accountable for the harm they have caused.