Elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes can be either physical or emotional. The following are the warning signs of elder abuse and neglect:
- Weight gain or loss.
- Signs of malnutrition.
- Tooth loss.
- Hair loss.
- Broken eyeglasses.
- Internal injuries.
- Burns (scalding burns or cigarette burns).
- Physical sores or markings, such as bedsores or markings indicating restraint.
- Ripped or torn clothing.
- Signs of being overly medicated or overly sedated.
- Infections with unexplained causes.
- Broken or fractured bones without a reasonable explanation.
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Failure to clean a patient’s clothing or sheets.
- Genital area injuries.
- Development of a sexually transmitted disease.
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior, completely outside of your loved one’s typical behavior.
- Unexplained fits of anger.
- Sudden anxiety or depression.
- Withdrawal from normal activities or hobbies.
- Failure or lack of interest in taking care of their own personal hygiene or living area.
- Failure to take medication.
- Sudden changes in eating or sleeping.
- Low self-esteem.
- Sudden fear of nursing home staff members.
- Engages in repetitive behaviors such as rocking back and forth, pulling their hair, grinding their teeth, or sucking on their hands.
- Nursing home staff’s refusal to allow you to see your elderly loved one alone.
Physical Elder Abuse and Neglect
Physical elder abuse and neglect can occur by a doctor, nurse, or other nursing staff member, and can include both actual physical abuse or physical neglect of a resident. Some types of physical elder abuse and neglect can include hitting, slapping, shoving, pushing, or scratching the elderly person. Other examples include the use of restraints, sexual abuse, pulled hair, or burns.
Physical elder neglect can include withholding food or water, failing to move patients who cannot walk for themselves, failing to provide medicine, failing to bathe a patient or provide for their basic hygiene needs, or failing to wash their sheets and clothing. Neglect can also include leaving patients in their beds where they can develop bedsores or infections, or any other type of abandonment of a patient that would cause them physical neglect.
Both physical abuse and physical neglect can cause serious harm to an elderly resident in a nursing home, which can lead to serious physical injuries or death. Always make sure to investigate any new or developing physical challenges or injuries your elderly loved one may develop, as they could potentially be warning signs of elder abuse and neglect.
Warning Signs of Emotional Elder Abuse and Neglect
Although physical elder abuse does occur in nursing homes, emotional elder abuse and neglect is far more common. Emotional elder abuse and neglect is the treatment of an elderly person in a way that can cause serious emotional or psychological pain or distress.
Some types of emotional elder abuse and neglect can include the following:
- Berating or yelling at a resident.
- Saying demeaning, shaming, mocking, or insulting comments to a resident.
- Ignoring or trivializing a resident’s questions or requests.
- Threatening physical or sexual abuse.
- Intentionally isolating a resident from their family or social activities with other residents.
- Intentionally moving a resident’s possessions so that they cannot use them.
- Removing a resident’s walker, wheelchair or cane so that they are unable to move around the nursing home.
These are not the only types of emotional abuse and neglect. Psychological abuse can appear in many ways. Oftentimes, this type of abuse is difficult to identify since there are no physical signs, and the warning signs can be subtle. Always carefully monitor your loved one in a nursing home for any changes in behavior, which can be a warning sign of emotional elder abuse and neglect.
What to Do if You Discover Elder Abuse or Neglect
Reporting Elder Abuse and Neglect
Many residents of a nursing home will not report abuse for fear of retaliation, or because they do not want to burden their family. If you suspect that your elderly loved one in a nursing home may be a victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact the police. The government appoints an official caregiver who will conduct an official investigation and interview your loved one to determine what types of abuse occurred.
Remove Your Loved One from the Nursing Home
If you notice warning signs of elder abuse and neglect, remove your loved one from the nursing home as soon as possible. Consider providing your loved one with emotional counseling and support. Your loved one is likely traumatized due to elder abuse or neglect and could benefit from psychological support.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer
If you believe that your loved was abused or neglected in any way in a nursing home, visit with one of our nursing home lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you determine your loved one’s legal rights.