How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
It can be a family’s worst nightmare when their family member, their mom or dad suffers an unexplained injury in a nursing home. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a frightening concept for families who depend on a skilled nursing facility to care for their loved ones. It is crucial to stay vigilant to signs of abuse and neglect and be prepared to act. So, how do you know if something seems wrong and what do you do if it does?
United States Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility Statistics
- In 2022, more than 1.4 million Americans live in one of America’s nursing homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- In 2022, 800,000 people live in an assisted living facility. (American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living)
- By 2030, there will be a 50% increase in the number of elders over the age of 65 who require nursing home care. (National Center on Aging)
Statistically, if the percentage of nursing home abuse and neglect remains constant, the number of nursing home abuse and neglect victims will also increase dramatically.
Five Types of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
It is important to keep an eye on your loved ones in case they show any signs of elder abuse or neglect. Neglect, or lack of care, is as important to identify as actual abuse since a lack of medical attention can be very serious and can also be a precursor to other types of abuse including:
- Physical abuse. Caretakers cause direct pain or injury by depriving residents of their basic needs or threatening them with physical abuse or pain. Physical abuse can also consist of physical or chemical restraints. Not only can nursing home assault be committed by staff, but it can also be committed by other residents.
- Emotional abuse. Caretakers commit verbal or nonverbal abuse, which can lead to emotional distress, anguish, and humiliation.
- Sexual abuse. Residents suffer through unwanted sexual contact or are forced to witness a sexual act.
- Neglect and abandonment. Caretakers desert or refuse basic care to residents.
- Exploitation. Caretakers or nursing home staff conceal or use a resident’s assets inappropriately. In addition, a new form of exploitation has emerged – exploitation through social media. In these instances, nursing home caretakers may take compromising images or video of nursing home residents and upload images and video online.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
There are many signs that should alert you to nursing home abuse or negligence, including:
- unexplained bruises, bleeding, or signs of physical assault,
- new wounds (particularly pressure sores or bedsores),
- slips and falls,
- malnutrition or dehydration,
- psychological changes that could indicate there is some type of abuse going on,
- unexpected listlessness,
- unusual behavior, such as infantile behavior
- emotional withdrawal, or
- unexplained outbursts of anger or crying.
Other nursing negligence signs might not be as readily evident. These clues include the loss of personal belongings including jewelry, wallets, or other valuables.
Don’t just pay attention to your loved one—staff behavior can change too. Look out for staff who stall you when you are trying to visit, hang around your loved one’s room when you are visiting, or refuse to answer routine questions. Any one of these could be signs of a problem that should warrant your attention.
What Should You Do if Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect is Suspected?
If you suspect that your loved one is not receiving the proper care, you must act quickly. First, contact an administrator and report the problem. Then, consider contacting a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Even if the facility management or administration agrees to follow up and get back to you, being in contact with an attorney can also be helpful to protect your loved one’s rights.
As an attorney for nursing home abuse, I can provide direction in terms of other action that should be promptly taken, which may include contacting the police, documenting your loved one’s injuries and the circumstances surrounding their harm, and filing a complaint with the Ohio Department of Health. There is no charge or obligation for contacting me.
If a Loved One Has Been Affected by Nursing Home Negligence, Call the Nancy C. Iler Law Firm for a Free Consultation
My firm accepts nursing home negligence, abuse, injury, and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not owe us any fee while your case is progressing, and there will only be a fee if compensation is recovered.
When care falls short and results in life-threatening injury, abuse, or wrongful death, the injured and their families need a strong advocate. I and my firm are committed to making a difference by holding corporations accountable for providing essential care, supervision, and safety to nursing home residents.
As a nursing home abuse law firm in Ohio, we represent many types of nursing home and assisted living care abuse or neglect cases: