The Top Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

The top signs of nursing home abuse

When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you expect the caregivers to treat them with respect and care. However, sometimes, that is not the case. Instead, those whom you entrusted with your family member’s well-being have abused them.

At Barrera Law Group LLC, we understand that the thought of your loved one being abused can be devastating and heartbreaking. When you have someone living in a nursing home, you must keep your eyes open for the first signs of trouble.

Let’s look at the top signs of nursing home abuse and what you need to do to protect your loved one.

Indicators a Loved One Is Being Abused

Unfortunately, abuse is a grave concern for family members who have a loved one in a residential setting. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 6 older adults has experienced abuse while residing in nursing homes. Abuse can take numerous forms, from physical abuse to financial exploitation.

Many times, there are physical indicators of wrongdoing on behalf of the staff. These signs may include:

Bedsores (Pressure Ulcers)

Pressure injuries are a common but serious problem for residents in long-term care facilities.

Many times, these injuries develop when a person spends too much time confined in a wheelchair or bed. These sores are a clear indicator of neglect. Residents with limited mobility are susceptible to these injuries. It is up to the caregivers and staff members to ensure these individuals do not develop sores.

Bedsores develop when a resident remains in the same position for extended periods. The pressure on the skin causes tissue damage. If these sores are properly treated at the initial signs of redness, they can heal without any issues.

However, when left untreated, they can progress to open wounds and eventual deep tissue damage.

Dental or Facial Injuries

Injuries to the face or mouth should not be ignored. Broken teeth, bruised lips, facial fractures, and other types of trauma could be the result of nursing home abuse.

Often, these injuries can stem from improper care with feedings or oral care. Other times, it may be a sign of physical abuse or neglect. These injuries can lead to chronic pain and infection for the affected individual.

Broken Bones

If your loved one has suffered a fracture or broken bone, you need to be alarmed. While some incidents, like an accidental fall, can lead to these injuries, unexplained bodily harm is a red flag that someone is abusing your loved one.

These fractures may be the result of rough handling or intentional harm from the staff. Whenever you suspect abuse, you need to report it and demand an investigation into the incident.

Cuts, Bruises, and Welts

Unnecessary restraints and rough handling of a nursing home resident can leave behind bruises, welts, and cuts.

Ask questions immediately if you notice any of these signs on your loved one. Sometimes, superficial bruises and cuts can develop, but more severe injuries may be indicators of physical or sexual abuse.

Extreme Weight Loss

All nursing home residents are required under law (per Code of Federal Regulations 483.60) to receive nutritious meals to meet their daily needs. If they are being abused, they could experience dehydration or malnutrition.

When someone does not receive adequate hydration or food, it can lead to significant weight changes and health deterioration.

Other Hidden Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

While the above are a few obvious signs of nursing home abuse, others are hidden from the casual observer.

These signs could include:

Change in Behavior or Personality

Often, abuse can result in major changes in your loved one’s personality or behavior. If they usually have a happy demeanor and now seem depressed or anxious, you will want to discover the reason behind the change. Health conditions can cause these problems, but the underlying issue may be a sign of abuse.

Repeated Injuries

Frequent injuries or emergency room visits raise red flags. Investigate the circumstances behind these incidents. Accidents happen, but patterns of repeated bodily injuries require a more thorough examination from the nursing home staff or outside agencies.

Unusual Financial Transactions or Lost Belongings

Nursing home abuse does not have to be physical or emotional. In some cases, these individuals may be exploited in other ways, such as through their bank accounts.

If you have access to your loved one’s financial accounts, make sure there are no unusual transactions. Along with that, keep an eye on their personal belongings. Missing items could be a sign that someone is stealing from your family member.

Unexplained Sexual Trauma

Unfortunately, sexual abuse is common in nursing home settings. Staff members or even residents can perpetrate these crimes.

You will want to look for signs like unexplained genital injuries, discomfort, or changes in sexual behavior. Victims may be unable or unwilling to articulate their experiences, so observation is vital.

Keep Your Loved Ones Safe

As advocates for older adults, we must remain vigilant. Recognizing both obvious and subtle top signs of nursing home abuse and neglect in Albuquerque can help us protect our loved ones.

If you notice any signs of abuse, make sure to report it to the administration and demand a full investigation. In some cases, it may be time to reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer, too.

Every older person deserves dignity, respect, and safety.