Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Far too many nursing home residents fall victim to neglect and abuse. Solid statistics are difficult to come by, in part because families and victims themselves often feel ashamed for misplacing their trust in individuals and organizations that turned out to care so little for their health and well-being. One study of 2,000 people then residing in long-term care facilities, though, revealed that 44 percent of survey respondents had personally experienced abuse since entering residential care. A shocking 95 percent of respondents said they had been neglected or had witnessed others being neglected.
Abuse in nursing homes takes many forms. Physical attacks, sexual assaults, and intentional withholding of food and treatment all occur with alarming frequency. Neglect, while more insidious, is no less harmful. Not turning or bathing bedridden patients can lead to life-threatening wounds and infections. Going long periods without meaningfully interactions with others can increase nursing home patients’ depression and worsen other health problems. Allowing frail individuals to get out of bed unassisted results in innumerable disabling and deadly falls.
One of the worst indignities visited upon nursing home residents—and, perhaps, the most common—is financial exploitation. Outright stealing cash and precious possessions from residents is not unheard of. Fraudulent billing, misappropriation of bank accounts, and investment/charity scams are more common.
Sadly, detecting nursing home abuse and neglect is not always easy. From experience and collaborations with other experts, the Ohio nursing home neglect lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman have pulled together the following lists of warning signs. If you spot any of them, ask a trusted member of the facility staff for an explanation and solution. Follow up as necessary to make sure the problem is properly addressed.
If issues recur or fail to improve, find a new nursing home, report the incident to the Ohio Department of Health and your local Medicare office. You should also file a police report if an injury, death, or theft has occurred. Also consider filing a lawsuit with the help of a Columbus nursing home abuse attorney. The goal for the last action is less to receive payments and more to protect other patients and families from mistreatment and exploitation.
Reasons to Suspect a Nursing Home Resident Is Being Physically or Financially Abused
- Facial and abdominal bruising
- Broken bones, abrasions, and burns
- Genital bruising, which can indicate sexual abuse
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, unusual sales of valuable personal property, large donations or investments in unfamiliar groups
- Increased anger, irritability, and physical or verbal aggression
- Expressions of mistrust in caregivers
Reasons to Suspect a Nursing Home Resident Is Being Neglected
- Marked reduction in participation in normal activities
- Rapid decline in alertness
- Unusually deep depression
- Poor hygiene
- Unusual weight loss and malnutrition
- Muscles becoming so stiff from lack of use that moving at all becomes difficult
- Increased application of physical restraints
- Oversedation with medications
Know the Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
A great deal of nursing home neglect and abuse results from inadequate staffing, poor staff training, insufficient management and supervision, and poor enforcement of policies and procedures put in place to protect residents. Facility owners and operators have a legal duty to ensure staff numbers and performance meet the highest standards, so when abuse or neglect occurs, the companies and their officers can be held liable for paying compensation and damages.
If you or a family member has suffered an injury or mistreatment in a hospital or long-term care facility, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney or personal injury lawyer with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman. A call to (800) 678-3318 will cost you nothing and may earn you peace of mind and a dedicated legal advocate. You can also schedule a free consultation online.