When your loved one is the victim of abuse in a nursing facility, it’s not your fault. Nobody sets out to have their beloved family members in such a scary and painful situation. There is, however, something you can do about it if you know what to look for. Learn about the four most common kinds of nursing home abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse, and how a personal injury lawyer can help.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
There’s a range of different kinds of abuse that can take place in nursing homes. In general, however, they can be broken down into four major varieties: Physical abuse (including sexual abuse), sexual abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. Some signs of abuse are universal; others are specific to the variety of abuse suffered.
Victims of emotional abuse display marked shifts in behavior patterns, mood swings and the like. They may be withdrawn, they might become aggressive or shy. They could exhibit signs of depression or may become manic. The key is that the changes are unexplained and fairly dramatic.
In addition, if you witness a caregiver being aggressive, demanding, exhibiting controlling behavior or attempting to isolate the elder from loved ones or visitors, this can be a red flag.
Victims of physical abuse may experience unexplained injuries, which could be as major as broken bones but could also be minor cuts, bruises, bedsores, burns, welts and the like. They might also display unexplained illnesses—especially STIs and STDs. They may also exhibit many of the signs of emotional abuse victims—particularly those involving mood swings.
Sadly, one of the most common forms of elder abuse is that in which the senior’s finances are exploited or taken advantage of by caregivers. If you notice that your senior loved one suddenly has very little money with no explanation, that they seem to be trying to buy affection with gifts, that despite them having plenty of money, their caregiver doesn’t seem to be providing for them, or that they have given special control to a caregiver, these are red flags.
Watch out for assignation of power of attorney rights, or suddenly adding a caregiver into their will, especially if the loved one doesn’t understand what that means.
Abuse by Neglect
Neglect is another form of abuse that’s, unfortunately, all-too-common. Watch for your loved one to exhibit a lack of appropriate clothing or basic hygiene. Keep an eye out for weight loss, signs of malnutrition, or missing important medical needs like medications, dentures, glasses or the like. If they exhibit bedsores, their area is dirty or overly cluttered, or they don’t have access to normal facilities for their needs, this can be a sign of neglect.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, immediately report the problem to the proper authorities (the police, 911, the DA’s office, etc.) and seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer like the lawyers at Bell Law. We can help you and your loved one seek safety and get justice for what’s happened. Don’t let the problem get worse; call us today.