Choosing to move a spouse, parent or other loved one into a nursing home is never an easy decision. You do your research, visit the facility and feel confident you’ve made the right choice. The prospect of physical or emotional abuse is far from your mind. Unfortunately, elder abuse in nursing homes does occur – sometimes at the hands of staff and sometimes at the hands of other residents.
As you visit your loved one, keep your eyes and ears open for signs of problems. One bruise doesn’t necessarily signal abuse, but you should be mindful of recurring issues or significant behavioral changes that could be red flags of nursing home abuse. Watch for these four signs of possible nursing home abuse.
1. Physical problems or injuries
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, commonly documented physical signs of abuse are bruises, welts, wounds and injuries that may include lacerations, dental problems, head injuries, broken bones or pressure sores.
Also, pay attention if your loved one complains of constant physical pain or soreness, sleep disturbances or appears dehydrated or malnourished. The National Center on Elder Abuse cites a study that found that older adults who experienced abuse, even modest abuse, had a 300 percent higher risk of death compared to elders who had not been abused.
2. Emotional and psychological cues
Certainly, there will an adjustment period as your loved one gets settled into this new living arrangement and schedule. But you take note of any changes in personality or signs of emotional distress. Is your loved one regularly agitated or withdrawn? This could be a sign of abuse in the nursing home.
Pay attention to how your loved one behaves around other staff members and fellow nursing home residents. That could be a telling sign of who is behind any abusive behavior.
3. Financial concerns
Financial exploitation of older adults is common and costs older Americans more than $2.6 billion each year, notes the National Center on Elder Abuse. Make sure you can access your loved one’s bank accounts, credit cards or other financial records. You’ll want to monitor for any unauthorized charges or suspicious expenses.
4. Your questions are unresolved or ignored
If you suspect abuse – either by a staff member or another resident – immediately speak to a manager or supervisor at the facility. You have every right to inquire about the care of your loved one. Your questions should be answered to your satisfaction.
If your concerns aren’t taken seriously, it may be a sign of a greater problem. In that case, you may want to pursue legal action.
If your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect at a South Carolina nursing home, turn to experienced attorneys like the team at Joye Law Firm. Since 1968, they have helped injured people recover not just the money they are entitled to, but also their lives.
To learn how Joye Law Firm can help you, visit JoyeLawFirm.com or call (843) 507-4959.