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Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

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Placing your elder family member or loved one into a nursing home was a tough decision to begin with, and the possibility of nursing home abuse only compounds the emotional difficulty. By learning the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, you may be able to quickly identify and respond to elder abuse. Your courage to take action now helps your loved one and could help prevent future incidents with other elders. Rampant neglect or obvious physical abuse is rare. While the warning signs of elder abuse can be subtle, awareness can increase your chances of early intervention. To stop nursing home abuse, you need to know the signs.

The first questions to ask when identifying nursing home abuse:

  • Does your loved one have injuries or show physical signs of neglect?
  • Are your loved one’s complaints insistent and frequent?
  • Are objections directed at a particular nursing home staff member?
  • Has your loved one displayed unusual behavior changes?

General Signs of Abuse

  • Staff refuses to allow visitors to see resident, or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
  • Staff does not allow visitors to be alone with resident
  • Frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and resident

Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained new or frequent injuries such as bruises, burns, cuts or broken bones
  • Bloody or stained clothing

Neglect

  • Complaints about painful blisters or abrasions
  • Bedsores
  • Poor hygiene
  • Weakness or inexplicable weight loss
  • Soiled bedding
  • Constant thirst or extremely dry skin
  • Hazardous or unsafe living conditions
  • Over-medication

Behavioral Changes

  • Sudden personality changes
  • Uncharacteristic anger, lack of interest, or anxiety
  • Fear of being alone
  • Overwhelming sadness and frequent crying
  • Change in alertness
  • Outright complaint
  • Rude or humiliating comments by staff

How We Can Help

Your brave decision to respond could help others. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, or you yourself are being victimized, there are alternatives to suffering in silence. When your family is ready, call for a free consultation about your legal rights.