Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
As we get older many of us are faced with the responsibility of being a caretaker for our aging parents. We all hope to assist our loved ones in being independent as long as possible. However, for many, skilled nursing care in a residential environment is the only option.
The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) estimates that “about 1-2 million U.S. citizens 65 years of age or older have been mistreated, exploited or injured by a caregiver.” Unfortunately, “a study of 2,000 nursing facility residents indicated an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent,” according to the NHAC.
Nursing home neglect and abuse are similar in many ways but are not entirely the same. Both can be harmful to a loved one but, by definition, abuse means there was a specific intent to harm, while neglect means that a sub-standard of level of care was provided which resulted in harm.
As mentioned, abuse means there was a specific intent to harm. Every allegation of abuse should be taken seriously and investigated properly. There are several different types of nursing home abuse and warning signs for each:
- • Physical
- ○ Unexplained broken bones, dislocations, sprains, bruises, or welts
- ○ Signs of restraint
- ○ Broken eyeglasses
- ○ Tooth loss
- ○ Traumatic hair loss
- ○ Unexplained burns and scratches
- ○ Delays in receiving medical care
- ○ Various trips to the emergency rooms including different emergency rooms
- ○ History of hospitalization for the same injuries
- ○ Refusal by the caregiver to let you be alone with your loved one
- • Emotional
- ○ Unusual behaviors such as mumbling or rocking back and forth
- ○ Witnessing any controlling or threatening behavior
- ○ A lack of friendly interaction with staff and other residents
- • Sexual
- ○ Unexplained STDs or other genital infections
- ○ Bruising near or around the genitals or breasts
- ○ Stained, bloody, or torn underwear and/or clothing
- ○ Vaginal or anal bleeding which is unrelated to a medical condition
- • Financial
- ○ Unusual packages, goods, subscriptions, and/or services
- ○ Lack of medical care
- ○ Unexplainable withdrawals from accounts
- ○ Adding names to credit cards and bank accounts
- ○ Missing money and/or items of value
- ○ Changes in power of attorney, life insurance, wills, property, etc.
There are many types of nursing home neglect, including:
- • Emotional – A loved one is repeatedly left alone or ignored.
- • Hygiene – A loved one does not receive adequate hygienic care including bathing, brushing of teeth, laundry, cleaning, etc.
- • Basic Needs – A loved one does not have basic needs met such as food, water, and shelter.
- • Medical – A loved one does not receive adequate attention or medication which can result in bed sores, infections, mobility concerns, etc.
It’s important to understand that identifying nursing home neglect can be difficult as there may not always be physical signs. Potential warning signs could include:
- • Sudden weight loss
- • Dehydration and/or malnutrition
- • Changes to behavior (i.e. suddenly withdrawn, lack of interaction)
- • Changes in hygiene, poor hygiene
- • Lack of mobility
- • Bedsore, pressure ulcers
- • Multiple falls
If you or a loved one suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, VanDerGinst Law would be honored to help. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win. If you suffered an injury contact VanDerGinst Law, P.C. at 800-960-8529. The law is tough and being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.