All elderly people deserve to age with dignity, but sadly, many fall victim to neglect and abuse—particularly those who stay in nursing homes. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse often goes unreported due to embarrassment, fear, or because a resident may be unable to talk. If you believe your loved one is being abused, you need to report it immediately to prevent it from escalating. 

Continue reading to learn more about this type of abuse. 

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

When you hear about nursing home abuse, you may immediately think of physical harm; however, the definition is much broader. Here are the most common types of nursing home abuse:

Sexual abuse: This type of abuse occurs when a staff member at a nursing home takes advantage of a resident through coercion, force, or abusing their inability to communicate consent. 

Neglect: This type of abuse occurs when a staff member fails to look out for a resident’s safety as well as physical and emotional needs. 

Financial abuse: This type of abuse occurs when a staff member exploits a resident to gain financial control. Often, this abuse is subtle because the abuser will act friendly to gain an elderly person’s trust.

Emotional abuse: This type of abuse covers mental anguish caused by distress, threats, insults, and other degrading actions. 

Learn more about the symptoms of nursing home abuse and what you can do to help your loved one.

What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

To determine if your loved one is experiencing abuse, look out for the following red flags:

  • Bedsores
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Adverse changes in your loved one’s emotions and behavior
  • Random financial transactions
  • Unexplained illness and infections
  • Resistance to hugging and other forms of affection 

You can document signs of nursing home abuse by doing the following:

Observing behavior: Take note of any changes in your loved one’s behavior. 

Taking pictures: Take photos of any bruises your loved one may have. 

Talking to witnesses: Write or record statements from any witnesses who saw the abuse happen or from other residents who may have information. 

Keeping evidence of the abuse is crucial, as it encourages those who experience it to report it. Although police take all claims of nursing home abuse seriously, having evidence makes them stronger, and your loved one will have a higher chance of receiving justice. 

Ways To Report Nursing Home Abuse

Social workers, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are required to report nursing home abuse. However, families shouldn’t wait for a professional to file a report. Unfortunately, sometimes even licensed professionals allow this type of harm to occur, especially if they can take advantage of an elder’s finances.  

Your family can report nursing home abuse through the following channels:

Law enforcement: Physical and emotional nursing home abuse can leave permanent damage to its victims. An elderly person’s vulnerable health combined with slower healing places them at high risk. If your loved one is injured, you need to call 911 urgently for medical attention. 

The authorities may be able to assist with getting criminal charges filed for: 

  • Sexual abuse
  • Assault
  • Psychological abuse and harassment 
  • Coercion by tricking residents with dementia into disclosing their financial information

Anonymous reporting: If you’re a staff member of a nursing home who wants to come forward with information, you can file a confidential report. Confidentiality provisions provide nursing home caretakers with assurance so that they can report abuse without fear of retaliation from their employer, civil and criminal liability, and other types of disciplinary action. 

Working with an ombudsman:  An ombudsman is a watchdog and intermediary between care facilities and residents. They fight for the rights of individuals living in nursing homes and can resolve their physical and emotional well-being. 

Every state has an ombudsmen program thanks to the Older Americans Act established in 1972. 

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton is Here for Your Loved Ones

Although you want what’s best for your loved ones residing in nursing homes, sadly, it can be difficult to tell what’s going on behind closed doors. You can reach out to one of the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys from Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton if your loved one is being abused. Our attorneys fight for victims and their families to receive fair compensation. You can trust us to hold caretakers accountable for their abuse. 

We have offices throughout Utah County, as well as West Jordan. Schedule your free case evaluation today