When you and your loved one decide that a nursing home is the best course of action for continuing their care into their later years, you likely will do plenty of research to make sure that it’s the right facility for their needs. Unfortunately, no matter how much investigating and preparing you do, the long-term care facility you choose can still mistreat your elderly family member.
When that happens, you might not know signs that they’re being abused. That’s why it’s important to know the signs so that you can spot them quickly and report them to the proper authorities. Let’s take a look at the signs that your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse and what you can do about it.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
There are many different ways that a resident in a nursing home can experience abuse. Whether it’s physical, emotional, financial, or sexual, your loved one doesn’t deserve to be treated like that and should be removed from that situation immediately. Recognizing the signs that they’re being abused or neglected can enable you to intervene quickly and get them to a safer place in a new facility.
Here are some of the most blatant clues that your loved one is being abused in their nursing home and what it could mean is precisely happening:
- Unexplained Bruises or Injuries. If your family member has injuries that can’t be explained, then that could mean that a staff member is being rough with them, hurting them, or leaving them alone for too long which could lead to them falling. This can be a serious indicator because the physical abuse could escalate and threaten your loved one’s life.
- Poor Hygiene. There are multiple forms of poor hygiene that could indicate abuse. Their clothes, bed linens, environment, and personal hygiene could all be neglected and show that they’re not getting the attention they need.
- Unexplained Weight Loss. When your loved one isn’t trying to lose weight, or if they’ve lost a drastic amount of weight in a short period of time, it could show that they are getting bad care. They might not be getting proper nutrition or medication that they need, or they might be dehydrated from not getting enough fluids. This can also be serious quickly because drastic weight loss can negatively impact their health.
- Bed Sores. When a person isn’t moved enough or their bedding isn’t turned frequently, they can develop bed sores from the pressure of their bones on the mattress. These can be mild, but more serious ones can go as deep as the bone. This can lead to dead tissue and other health complications, not to mention the pain.
- Change in Demeanor. If your loved one is being emotionally or physically abused, their demeanor could completely change. They might become isolated or unwilling to talk about what’s going on. They could also have mood swings or become depressed.
- New Trouble Communicating. Additional to mood swings, they might have new problems with communicating because the abuse is affecting them mentally and emotionally. They also could be getting more medication than they need and be sedated.
- Missing Money or Valuables. A sign of financial abuse is that your loved one has missing money from their accounts or valuable items are missing from their room. They also might have been tricked into allowing another person access to their account so that they could have control of their finances.
- Unexplained STDs. If your family member is being sexually abused in their nursing home, they could have unexplained STDs or bruising around their genitals.
Knowing these signs can help you intervene quickly so that your loved one doesn’t have to suffer from more abuse. You can’t change what they went through, but you can prevent it from happening more and try to prevent the perpetrator from harming other people in the same way. That’s why it’s important to report the abuse.
How Do I Report Suspected Nursing Home Abuse?
It can be intimidating to report this mistreatment to the staff, facility, and the authorities. In order to get the best results possible, the first place you should report the abuse to is the facility where it occurred. The management might not be aware of what was happening. When you report the suspected abuse to them, they can investigate and take action against the staff member or resident responsible.
Ideally, they’ll handle the situation and get justice for your loved one through change. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes facilities are more interested in protecting themselves and might deny anything is happening. In that case, you’ll want to contact outside resources and hire a lawyer.
In Little Rock and all of Arkansas, you will have to contact Arkansas’ Adult Protective Services (APS) and file a complaint about your loved one’s nursing home. From there, they will investigate and take action that they deem necessary. Having a nursing home abuse lawyer on your side will ensure that your family member’s rights are protected every step of the way.
McMath Woods P.A. Is Here for You
At McMath Woods P.A., we understand how isolating it can be for your loved one and your family when they experience abuse and don’t know where to turn. That’s why our experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Little Rock is here to get them justice and support you every step of the way. Contact our firm today to find out how we can help you through your claim.