Commonly, residents in a nursing home may feel intimidated or uncomfortable to report abuse from caregivers or staff members. To be specific, residents who are suffering from a kind of mental health condition or another condition may be incapable of recognizing abuse. This can go unnoticed and can continue if attention is not given to the subtle signs. It is even difficult because the staff members of the nursing home can cover it up in an attempt to prevent any legal charges or civil or criminal liability. As a family member, it becomes an important responsibility to notice and be alert to the signs that their relative in the nursing home is being abused, if you are unaware of the signs of abuse you should contact your personal injury attorney. When they visit their loved ones and while talking, they should pay attention and know the signs.
Some studies say that one out of ten people in a nursing home is suffering, or has suffered, from a form of neglect or abuse every year. Once you can verify that this is happening in the nursing home, you should move your loved ones away from such a facility as soon as you can. Then reach out to law enforcement in your area, such as the Adult Protective Service, and talk to an attorney that can tell you what steps to take to protect your rights.
Signs That the Residents Have Been Neglected
There are certain things you should look at to determine cases of neglect. You may notice the resident is losing weight and that their hygiene is declining. This is pointing towards a specific root: your loved ones aren’t getting the attention they deserve, their daily needs aren’t met. You can notice their medication and signs that it isn’t administered accurately. You may notice they are suffering from health issues, the common ones being bedsores, that they shouldn’t have developed if they are using their medication and being moved around in their bed properly. At times dirty bedding, poorly maintained sleeping spaces, malfunctioning utilities are signs that nursing home resident has been neglected. You can even start noticing the number of staff in the home. If the number of staff is few, it is a good possibility they may be overworked. Your loved ones can be one of those paying the price of the overworked staff which is unacceptable.
Signs That a Resident Has Been Abused
When you go to visit your loved ones and happen to notice any sign of harm such as burns, broken bones or cuts and bruises, this may indicate that they have faced a form of physical abuse. There is a possibility of sexual abuse when you notice the resident’s clothing is torn and they show signs of sexually transmitted disease. You can confirm by taking them to get testing done for different diseases. Then you can challenge the facility or the staff members to provide a detailed account for any illness or injury the resident develop before they entered the nursing home. For instance, if they have suffered from falls, you can ask for the reasons for the person to have fallen, such an explanation or answer should be plausible. At that time you can then ask them what actions they have put in place to prevent future occurrences.
At times, the signs of abuse can be noticed physically. Some of the red flags, psychological signs, can be noticed when the resident doesn’t take pleasure in things that used to seem pleasurable. If you have been familiar with their relationship with the staff members, notice when they become withdrawn from a particular member and their old enthusiasm seems dead. When you are around, notice the behaviors of the staff members. Are they aggressive to some residents even if that is not your loved one? This is a sign pointing to some situations that may arise for your loved ones when you leave. That staff member needs some cautioning and you can not act as if it is not your business even if your loved one seems unscathed – for now.
Also, the signals of emotional abuse can be traced to a different source. It could be a product of overmedication. In medical terms, it is called chemical restraints and the purpose is to have control over their behavior. Sometimes, it is used to put them in isolation punishment and these acts have emotional and physical harm that can last for long.
Signs That the Residents Have Been Exploited Financially
Sadly, caregivers at times will take advantage of the declining mental abilities of residents in a nursing home. They can go as far as deceiving them into getting control over their wealth or extracting too many gifts from them. Alternatively, they could use the health condition of the residents as a channel for their exploits by demanding unnecessary medical expenditures for tests, treatment or equipment. These acts may be kicked back by medical professionals. Be guided. Caregivers can go the extra mile, giving bills to insurers of health care services of services the resident did not receive or know about. Did you say this is a crime? Yes, call it health care fraud. You may report the staff or faculty to law enforcement when you discover they are taking advantage of the resident’s health condition as discussed. Finally, you must pay attention to your resident’s health and personal finances such that you can notice any sudden changes.
The duties of nursing homes are to make your loved ones have a home away from home. They should be comfortable and safe as a resident. This means their health should be under control, their finance not in danger because they are in a nursing home, and they aren’t victims of abuse because they are aging or incapable of certain physical activities. But these things can happen anyway and it is your duty as a family member or loved one, who visits regularly, to notice and make the bad things stop. The signs to look for have been discussed, so pay attention during your visits. Some are outrageous and criminal. When you notice, you can report to the law enforcement agency and talk to an attorney.