The safety and well-being of our loved ones should always be a top priority. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are more common than one might think. If you think a loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to take action quickly. Read on to learn five signs of someone being abused in a nursing home and what to do if you suspect abuse or neglect.
1. Bruises, broken bones, burns, or lacerations.
Injuries are not only signs of physical abuse in a nursing home but can indicate deeper suffered mental or emotional trauma. For those living in long-term care facilities, who rely on their caregivers for activities of daily living, such physical marks can provide evidence that something is wrong.
Many elderly people may feel so helpless and dependent that they do not feel like they have any power to resist the harassment or abuse inflicted upon them by staff members at their facility. Any visible bruises, broken bones, and injuries should raise a red flag that the person may suffer from physical or emotional abuse and must be addressed as soon as possible.
2. Malnutrition, dehydration, or bedsores.
Signs of neglect can be seen in how much time the care staff spends with your loved one and how clean they are. If bedsores are present, if sheets remain unchanged frequently and have started to wear out, or if the room doesn't appear to have been vacuumed or dusted regularly - these all may be indications of insufficient attention in caring for your family member.
3. Poor hygiene.
Unattended healthcare needs include overgrown fingernail or toenail growth, an unusually heavy body odor, or unkempt hair, indicating that your loved one is being neglected. The longer these conditions persist, the higher the risk that abuse and neglect have taken place, so family members should investigate further when there is a lack of proper care or attention during visits.
These physical signs can indicate something is wrong and that your loved one is potentially being abused. Family members must be vigilant when visiting their loved one's nursing home, looking for any signs of distress.
Emotional & Mental Signs
It can be challenging to detect emotional and mental signs of abuse and neglect because these issues are not always obvious from the outside looking in.
4. Negative changes in mood in the presence of their caretaker(s).
If your loved one appears anxious around their caretaker(s) or seems withdrawn when talking about a specific caretaker(s), these could be indicators that they are uncomfortable with their caretaker(s) for some reason.
5. Changes in mood or behavior that are uncharacteristic.
If you notice any abnormal changes in mood or behavior, it could indicate something isn’t right.
It’s important to pay attention to these types of changes in behavior and address them as soon as possible to ensure your loved one’s safety. Recognizing these subtle behavioral changes can help you protect your loved ones from further harm and mistreatment by the staff at the nursing home facility.
Action Steps To Take When Suspecting Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
In the event that abuse or neglect is suspected, it is important to document any physical evidence to support a potential case against the nursing home facility. Additionally, you should take immediate action on their behalf:
- Step 1: Contact the proper authorities who specialize in investigating cases like these, such as Adult Protective Services (APS).
- Step 2: Hire an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse/neglect cases so they can provide legal assistance throughout this process, such as helping with filing reports with APS. This type of attorney will have experience handling these cases and know how best to handle the situation while protecting your loved one and their rights throughout the process.
South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers
When it comes to our elderly family members living in nursing homes, we must remain vigilant regarding their safety at all times. Knowing what signs to look out for when determining whether someone may have been subject to nursing home abuse/neglect can help us protect our loved ones more effectively by providing insights into what we can do when faced with this type of situation.