Nursing home abuse can happen right under your nose, and it’s not always obvious. Some of the signs are apparent, but some are very subtle.
So, how can you tell if a caregiver is abusing an elderly person in their nursing home? If you know what to look for, you can help protect the elderly so they can spend their days living in comfort, not pain or fear.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Before we tell you what signs to look for, it’s a good idea to define nursing home abuse. It occurs whenever a nursing home resident is neglected or mistreated, whether physically, emotionally, or sexually. Less common forms of abuse include financial exploitation and healthcare fraud. Abuse isn’t always intentional, but it’s still abuse and needs to be taken seriously.
Signs of Physical Abuse
If you notice an elderly person acting differently for no reason, you should be alarmed. Take note of this, even if their mental health is deteriorating. It could be nothing, but it could be something, so it should be taken seriously. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you do notice changes in behavior or personality, keep an eye out for the following physical signs:
- Broken bones, dislocated joints, or sprains
- Bruising, scarring, or welts
- Improper use of medications
- Signs that they have been restrained (marks on wrists)
- Broken eyeglasses
- Caregiver not giving you private time with your loved one
Signs of Emotional or Sexual Abuse
In addition to physical signs, look for signs of emotional or sexual abuse, including:
- Strange behavior that mimics dementia, such as mumbling, sucking their thumb, or rocking back and forth
- Seeing their caregiver belittle, control, or threaten them
- STDs or similar infections without a legitimate reason
- Bruising on the chest or private parts
- Underwear with tears, stains, or blood
- Genital bleeding for no reason (not medically related)
Signs of Caregiver Neglect
While physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are the primary kinds of nursing home abuse that you’ll see, caregivers also neglect their patients. Watch for these signs of caregiver neglect:
- Elderly person left alone in public
- Unsafe living conditions such as no heat, running water, or improper electrical work in the facility
- Not wearing enough layers of clothing in the cold or wearing too many layers in the heat
- An elderly person not properly bathed
- An elderly person having dirty conditions, including dirty sheets or dirty clothes
- An elderly person having bedsores from staying in the same position for too long
- Unexplained weight loss or dehydration
Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton
Are you concerned that an elderly person in your life is suffering from nursing home abuse? If so, Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can help. No one deserves to be abused. With over 25 years of experience, we have the skills and expertise to help you through this challenging time. Please feel free to contact us today for your free case evaluation.