Nursing homes, assisted living centers and other long-term care facilities have had significant problems in recent years. With consistent regulation violations, the challenges of a pandemic and rampant understaffing, instances of nursing home neglect and abuse have become common.
According to a recent study, residents of elder care facilities are among the most vulnerable to abuse in our society because they are entirely dependent on the staff of their facilities for all of their physical needs. For long-term care facility residents their families, the most important thing you can do is recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect and get help from an experienced attorney if there is any chance of abuse.
The most obvious signs of abuse or neglect are physical, including:
- Bed sores, which are caused by a patient not being moved frequently enough. There is no reason for bedsores to occur to someone receiving adequate care.
- Bruises and broken bones
- Rapid weight loss
- Unsanitary conditions
Physical signs of abuse are the easiest to detect and are often the most convincing signs of foul play or lack of care.
In addition to physical signs, emotional signs of neglect or abuse can include:
- Loss of vigor: Most elderly people have some activities and interests that engage them mentally and emotionally. Losing interest in these things can be a sign that they are going through some emotional trauma, possibly abuse or neglect.
- Pulling away: If you have a parent or other loved one who is normally outgoing and talkative, who suddenly becomes very reserved and inaccessible emotionally, this could be a sign.
- Mood changes: Sudden changes in mood for no reason, frequent crying or angry outbursts, etc., could all be signs of neglect or abuse.
Although less frequent, sometimes physical and emotional abuse are committed as a means to commit financial exploitation of an elderly resident. If your parent alters their will without explanation or signs away large sums of money, this could be a sign of financial exploitation.
What should you do?
It is critical to remember that signs of abuse are not proof of abuse. For example, if your parent becomes forgetful and withdrawn, it could be a normal symptom of aging losing memory, and the possible sadness that could come from that.
Do not proceed recklessly if you see these signs. If your elderly parent has been victimized by abuse in a long-term care facility, you will need to proceed strategically with the help of an experienced attorney. Protecting our elderly relative is too important.