With advances in modern medicine, Americans are now living longer than ever before. Because it’s become so normal for people to live well into their 70s, 80s, and beyond, their adult children are the ones who often have to care for them as advanced age sets in.
The problem is that with advanced age, comes other issues, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Often, elderly adults eventually need round-the-clock care and their children, who often have full-time jobs and children or grandchildren of their own to care for, aren’t capable of giving their parents the quality of care they truly need. In many cases, adult children reach the point where they need to place their loved one in a nursing home.
Nursing Homes Not Always Safe
While there are some good nursing homes out there, unfortunately, thousands more are not as good as they should be. Nursing homes are for-profit facilities that will often maximize the number of residents and underpay their staff all for the sake of profits.
One common practice is for nursing homes to be too casual about who they hire, which is partly due to the fact that they pay low wages. As a result, they can bring unscrupulous individuals into their facilities, and it’s the residents who pay the price.
If you are placing your loved one in a nursing home or if you intend to in the future, it’s important to first be aware of nursing home abuse, and to second, know what warning signs to look for. Usually, the responsibility of reporting abuse falls on the shoulders or friends and family, especially when nursing homes try to cover it up.
Common types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Nursing home neglect (e.g. dehydration, improper nutrition, unclean quarters)
- Identity theft
- Theft of personal belongings
- Healthcare fraud
What Red Flags to Look For
Since there are different forms of abuse and neglect, the red flags vary from situation to situation. If your loved one is complaining, you should pause and hear what they have to say, even if their caregiver is denying everything or blaming it on dementia. If something doesn’t look or feel right to you, you should listen to your gut and investigate further.
Common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect include, but are not limited to:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, scratches, and restraint marks
- A sexually transmitted disease without an explanation
- A change in the resident’s normal behavior
- Sudden weight loss
- The resident starts to withdraw from their normal social activities
- The resident always seems to be drugged and sedated
- The caregiver won’t let the resident visit with friends and family
- The caregiver’s demeanor is aggressive and uncaring
- Trauma to the resident’s genitals, such as swelling and bruising
- The resident is not receiving enough food
- The resident’s room is unclean and has foul odors
- The clothing and/or bedding is soiled
- The resident’s hygiene is apparently deteriorating
- The resident gives financial control to their caregiver
- The resident writes the caregiver into their will
- The resident is receiving unnecessary medical treatment (healthcare fraud)
If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, please don’t ignore it. Your first step is to call The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to arrange to speak to an attorney from our firm. We can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction in accordance with proper procedures and the law.
Next: Causes of Nursing Home Abuse