Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Posted by on Nov 11, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse | 0 comments

While there are rumors, stories, jokes, and movies about the idea of nursing home abuse, the actual reality of the situation isn’t very well understood. What actually counts as nursing home abuse, and how can you know it’s occurring?

These are particularly tricky questions because the person who may be being abused may not have the ability to explain what is happening. Many of those who go to nursing homes are suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. They may simply not have the ability to articulate what is happening. At the same time, they may hallucinate events or misremember events so that any claims they do make cannot be taken as fact at face value.

So, how can a relative know if their family member is suffering from nursing home abuse? Abel Law Firm has a convenient list of warning signs that are worth reviewing here.

  1. Staff are not responsive to questions

If a member of staff is elusive when certain questions come up, this should set off warning bells. This elusiveness could take many forms, from changing the subject to acting offended about a line of questioning. If you have concerns take these questions to the staff member’s superiors. If they too don’t satisfy you, look for higher authorities or contact a legal authority.

  1. Unexplained injuries

The elderly can injure themselves easily, and a new bruise may mean nothing, but a pattern of injuries that cannot be explained by the staff or by the person’s activities is something to worry about. Keep a careful watch for how often these injuries occur and what explanation is given for them.

  1. Unexplained deterioration in health

Obviously, those in a nursing home are suffering from ill health, but that does not mean they should wilt away. If there is a sudden, sharp deterioration in health that isn’t explained by the conditions the person is suffering from, it may be a sign that some form of abuse is taking place. If you have concerns on this point, speak with a doctor outside the facility for a second opinion.

  1. Signs of emotional trauma

Again, those who suffer from conditions like Alzheimer’s can have sudden emotional changes, but sudden aggression, regressive behavior, or withdrawal can still mean something else is going on. Since these can come from other factors, keep an eye on this one and look for other signs if it occurs.

  1. Unnecessary restraints or overmedication

If your relative isn’t violent to him or herself or to others, then there should be little reason to restrain them. Make sure to watch the medication dosages if your relative appears more unresponsive. This, in and of itself, is abuse and may signify other forms are taking place. It is worthwhile to try to learn more about the medications and the dosages of the drugs your relative is on. Ask the doctor for a list and check when you visit.

While nursing home abuse is rare, it is important that family watch out for it, especially since the person unable to so for themselves. Remain watchful for these signs, and remember that you are now that person’s sole protector.

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