Placing a loved one in a nursing home facility can be a difficult decision for any family to make. However, when an aging relative can no longer safely care for him or herself, it is necessary. Family members often take solace in the knowledge that their loved one is being well cared for by trained professionals. Unfortunately, this is not always what happens. There are times when safety and care regulations are not met by a facility or by some employees of a facility and as a result, the occupants suffer mistreatment, neglect or abuse.
If you have a loved one residing in a nursing home, it is vital to know the signs of abuse and to take immediate action if you see any of them. There are four main types of abuse or neglect that commonly take place in nursing homes, physical, emotional, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. Here is a description of these common types of mistreatment and warning signs family members should be aware of to indicate the need for further investigation or immediate action on your loved ones behalf.
Common types of nursing home abuse
Physical abuse includes any force on the body that causes pain or injury. This type of abuse also includes neglect (failure to provide medical or personal care) or unnecessary use of physical or chemical restraints. Signs of physical abuse may include,
- Cuts, scratches, bruises or broken bones
- Injuries due to a fall
- Marks from restraints
- Bedsores (pressure sores)
- Sudden weight loss, dehydration or malnutrition
- Over sedation
- Untreated medical conditions
- Poor hygiene
Emotional abuse includes any verbal or nonverbal actions or behaviors that inflict emotional pain, distress or anxiety. This type of abuse can be more difficult to spot than physical abuse, but can be just as damaging to the victim. Signs of emotional abuse include,
- Yelling or threatening language
- Humiliation, insults or harassment
- Isolation from group activities
- Nervousness around staff members
- Changes in normal behavior
Sexual abuse includes any sexual contact without consent or sexual contact with an individual who does not have the capacity to provide consent. Warning signs of sexual abuse may include,
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Bruising, bleeding or other injuries to the genitals
- Torn or stained clothing or bedding
Financial exploitation includes improperly accessing a resident's assets (money, property, or other types of assets) through coercion, theft or falsehoods. Some signs of financial exploitation include,
- Unexplained withdrawals from financial accounts
- Unexplained changes to financial accounts, wills, life insurance beneficiaries or powers of attorney
- Newly opened credit cards or loans in the residents name
- Forged signatures on financial, real estate or other property transactions
- Charges for care or services that were not provided
If you see signs of any types of mistreatment it is imperative to act fast to protect your loved one from further harm. Contact Attorney Alan D. Bell at 973-233-4291 to discuss your suspicions. We will investigate what has occurred, establish your claim to hold the responsible party accountable and help to protect your loved one.
When you trust that your loved one is being properly cared for and instead is being taken advantage of, neglected or abused, it can be devastating. At the law office of Alan D. Bell, we will help you try to make sure this type of nursing home mistreatment does not happen to another family.