Nursing home abuse continues to be a growing problem in the States. But even when abuse is suspected, many patients hesitate to report it because they fear the abuse may get worse. Other patients aren’t able to speak out on their own behalf, due to physical and/or mental disabilities.
So, how can you tell if your loved one is being abused?
Some physical signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Any type of unexplained bruising, burns, broken bones, etc. When you notice these injuries they may be in the process of healing, so they might not be immediately obvious.
- Bedsores and frozen joints are a sign of neglect.
- Signs of sexual abuse include unexplained sexually transmitted diseases, injured vagina or anal tissue, underclothes that are bloody or have bloodstains.
- Your loved one has an unexplained shift in behavior
- When you go to visit your loved one the staff does not allow visits or delays visits.
- Your loved one appears like they are in an overmedicated state much of the time.
- Personal possessions that go missing
- There are sudden large withdraws from their bank accounts, or they begin using money in ways that are abnormal for them.
- You find that there has been a change in their will
These are all warning signs that your loved one may be suffering from abuse or neglect; if you notice any of the above signs, you will want to contact someone to investigate as soon as possible.
Some additional signs to look for include:
- A strong odor of urine in your loved one’s room
- The person appears to be suffering from malnutrition or dehydration.
- Has an unkempt appearance and poor personal hygiene
- Medical conditions that are not being treated
Along with physical abuse and neglect, there is also a danger of emotional abuse. The signs to watch for concerning emotional abuse include:
- Fear and agitation
- Behavior changes
- Does not communicate
- Disorientation and confusion
- Staff making rude and demeaning comments to resident
Remember, you are your loved one’s main defense against abuse and neglect when they are in a nursing home. Visit your loved one on a frequent basis and watch for signs. If you do suspect abuse, have the situation investigated immediately and remove them from the facility.