Any person can report nursing home abuse that either witnesses or strongly suspects that an elderly resident in a nursing home suffered any kind of neglect or abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse
According to a study in the journal, Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America, the abuse of the elderly may be as expansive and large-scale as child abuse in our country. Many families make the difficult decision to place their elderly loved one in a nursing home for the specific reason to ensure that they receive the care and protection they need for a better quality of life and overall health. Nursing home abuse can appear as either physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, or financial abuse.
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Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse may be physical, psychological, sexual, or financial. Some of the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse may appear as the following:
Physical Nursing Home Abuse
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Tooth loss
- Hair loss
- Broken eyeglassesRipped clothing
- Physical markings or sores
- Signs of overmedication or undermedication
- Broken bones without explanation
- Infections or illnesses without explanation
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Genital or breast-area injuries
- Physical signs of restraint
- Social and emotional withdrawal
Psychological Nursing Home Abuse
- Changes in personality and behaviors
- Fits of rage, anxiety, or depression
- Regressive behaviors such as hand sucking or rocking back and forth
- Pulling hair
- Grinding teeth
- Changes in eating
- Changes in sleeping
- Lack of interest in personal hygiene or self-care
- Low self-esteem
- Sudden fear of nursing home staff
Financial Nursing Home Abuse
- Missing items from an elderly resident’s room
- Missing cash
- Missing credit cards
- Missing jewelry
- Sudden change in estate planning documents to include a beneficiary that is a nursing home employee
These are not the only signs of nursing home abuse, and it is critical that you always trust your instincts. If you suspect nursing home abuse occurred against your elderly loved one in a nursing home, always err on the side of caution and report the abuse.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
If you witness any type of physical, psychological, or financial abuse of an elderly person in a nursing home, you have the legal right to report the abuse. The most important consideration is the safety of the elderly resident.
If you feel your elderly loved one needs to seek medical attention due to their injuries, you have the legal right to remove your loved one from their nursing home and take them immediately to an emergency room or to seek medical care.
Additionally, if a family member feels the environment in the nursing home remains an unsafe one for their family member, they also have the legal right to remove them permanently from the nursing home facility. After they make these immediate decisions regarding the physical and psychological well-being of their elderly loved one, a family member has three options regarding how to report nursing home abuse:
- Contact the management of the nursing home: You have the right to alert the nursing home management regarding any issue of possible elder abuse. Every nursing home should have a protocol in place regarding how to handle any accusations of neglect or abuse.
- Contact Adult Protective Services: You also have the right to contact Adult Protective Services regarding any type of abuse.
- Contact law enforcement: If you feel that the elder abuse in the nursing home rises to the level of danger, or would require an investigation of any kind, you have the legal right to contact law enforcement regarding the possible elder abuse incident.
The National Center on Elder Abuse also has resources to reach out to for elder abuse claims.
Consider Consulting with a Nursing Home Lawyer
If you made the difficult decision to place your elderly loved one in a nursing home, it is likely due to the fact that you wanted to ensure their safety, care, and protection. The last thing you would ever want to learn is that your elderly loved one has suffered any kind of physical, psychological, or financial abuse as a result of a nursing home staff member or employee.
You can report nursing home abuse to the above-mentioned agencies. However, if you are considering pursuing legal justice on behalf of your elderly loved one as well, consider hiring a nursing home lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC. Call us today at 800-959-1444 to speak with someone who can help you understand all of your legal options.