Nursing Home Abuse and How a Loved One Can Tell the Signs
According to the National Council on Aging, one out of every 10 older Americans has been subjected to some form of abuse. Because we want to protect our loved ones who are living in nursing homes, knowing the signs of abuse is important, so it can be reported and investigated. This is especially important since many cases of elder abuse are never reported. When family members know the signs to look for, they can be proactive in preventing these types of harm to their loved ones.
What Are the Different Types of Abuse That Can Occur in Nursing Homes?
There are a number of different types of abuse that occur to nursing home residents. They may include the following:
- Physical injuries
- Sexual abuse
- Confinement that isolates or restrains someone
- Emotional abuse, including intimidation, threats and verbal attacks
- Neglect, is a lack of clothing, medical care, food and other things
- Financial abuse, which means the older person has their funds withheld or stolen
- Willful deprivation is a denial of medical care, physical assistance, medications and others
Potential Indications of Abuse in a Nursing Home
In the event of suspicion of nursing home abuse, the investigation should be initiated as soon as possible. Verifying the victim’s story is the first step. It is recommended that the individual investigating the case asks other residents in the nursing home who are not in cognitive decline for information on whether there have been problems in the facility.
The following may be indications of intentional abuse in nursing homes:
- Repeated emergency treatment for injuries
- Injuries that are unexplained such as sprains, bruises, broken bones or new scars
- A patient who is suddenly uncommunicative and appears intimidated if a caregiver enters the room
- An emotional or physical withdrawal that is unexplained
- Sudden weight loss
- Physical restraint or seclusion
- The presence of bed sores and lack of cleanliness of the person or room
- Personal belongings as well as checks or cash that are missing
What Do I Do if I Believe My Loved One Is Being Abused?
If physical evidence of your loved one’s abuse is obvious, taking photos of them as well as the room if it is unkept or dirty is a good start. You also have the option of notifying the following to get the help you need:
- Contact the Pennsylvania Nursing Home Licensing Board at (800) 254-5164 or file a complaint online.
- Notify the local police.
Enlisting the help of an injury lawyer at Travis Law Firm can be helpful if you believe your loved one is being abused in a nursing home situation. The lawyer can obtain copies of the injury reports, medical records and prescriptions given to your loved one as well. In addition, an investigation can be conducted to gather the evidence to support your elder abuse claim, which cannot only help your own loved one but may prevent future abuse to others in the facility.
Travis Law Firm – Protecting Your Loved Ones From Abuse
Professional caregivers have the obligation to treat your elderly family member with dignity and respect when they are entrusted with their care. At Travis Law Firm, our nursing home abuse attorneys in Erie PA, Edinboro PA, and Warren PA can assist you if you suspect your loved one is being neglected or abused. Contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help you at (814) 277-2222. You can also contact us online.