6 Signs of Elder Abuse in Nursing Home Facilities
In 2018, the World Health Organization(WHO) reported that 1 in 6 people over the age of 60 were abused in community facilities. However, only 1 in 24 cases of abuse are ever reported to authorities. Victims are often afraid to come forward with their grievances, but if you or a loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse at a nursing home or long-term care facility, you should know that you have rights. An elderly abuse attorney can help you put a stop to the abuse and may even be able to obtain financial compensation for you.
What Are Some Signs of Elderly Abuse?
Some signs of abuse can be very obvious to see while others may not be at first, especially if the facility in question attempts to hide the abuse. The abuse often involves individuals not receiving an adequate level of care, which means that they are being neglected by the nursing home or their individual caregivers. Signs can vary from case to case, but you should be concerned if your loved one experiences any of the following.
Studies show that malnutrition affects about 20%of the people who are residing in nursing homes. Facilities may not have enough staff members to provide each resident with the individual care that they require to ensure they are eating and drinking properly. This is a form of neglect and should be taken seriously. It can be difficult to detect malnutrition at first, but some symptoms include:
- Pale, cold skin
- Weight loss
- Trouble breathing
- Dry, thin hair
- Reduced cognitive function
- Digestive problems
Left unaddressed, malnutrition can be fatal and lead to complete heart failure. If you notice that your loved one has several of these symptoms, you should inquire about their dietary habits to determine if further action is necessary.
2. Physical Injuries
Injuries such as severe bruising and broken bones are the clearest signs that your loved one is experiencing some type of abuse or neglect. When left to care for themselves, they could attempt to do things that are far out of their ability level, which can then lead to falls and injuries that could have been avoided had they received the appropriate care from the nursing home. Have a medical professional look at physical injuries to make sure they’re addressed properly.
3. Poor Hygiene
Many elderly individuals need daily assistance with their personal hygiene, such as with bathing, brushing their hair and teeth, and changing their clothing. Neglected patients will not get the help that they need, so if they are unable to do these things on their own, they will begin showing a rapid decline in these areas.
4. Decline in Mobility
Daily physical activity is essential to helping residents maintain their mobility. It builds muscle strength, improves balance and circulation, and even reduces muscle spasms. Trained caregivers ensure their patients get some exercise every day, even if the elderly resident is unable to walk on their own. If your loved one is neglected they could be left in their bed for most of the day. Not only does this put them at risk for losing their mobility, but they could also acquire other health problems like bedsores.
5. Psychological Changes
Elderly residents who have been abused over a long period of time are more likely to develop severe emotional issues. They may appear afraid of their caregivers, be unwilling to discuss their daily experiences with family members, and become unexpectantly angry, reserved, or even depressed. Any extreme emotional change should be a red flag that something is amiss.
6. Unsanitary Conditions
Nursing home facilities have a legal responsibility to maintain a clean and safe living environment for all of their residents. This includes keeping their bedding, clothing, and living areas clean. If a facility is neglecting these important duties, their residents could develop health problems. Address dirty or dangerous living conditions related to being in an unsanitary environment immediately.
What to Do If Your Elderly Loved One Experiences Abuse
If your relative is showing signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact the facility administrator right away to file a report. They should take specific actions to investigate the abuse and hold responsible parties accountable. If administration has failed to improve conditions, you should contact a lawyer to protect your rights.
To succeed in your claim, you’ll need to show that the facility failed to adequately care for the person. You’ll need to show that this failure resulted in physical harm or emotional harm to them. Nursing home liability cases can involve:
- Inadequate care of a resident
- Poor maintenance of the facility
- Negligent hiring and retention of staff
Nursing homes are required to provide each resident with a certain standard of care. When found to have breached this responsibility, the injured party could be eligible for financial compensation. It is best to work with a lawyer as soon as you suspect that your loved one has been abused. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner they can ensure the best outcome possible for your case.
Be sure to provide your attorney with any copies of complaints you have made against the facility. Give them access to medical records involving the injuries that were sustained while under the care of the nursing home, for instance. These are all key pieces of evidence that your attorney can use to strengthen your case.
Contact a Bakersfield Elder Abuse Attorney Today
If you believe that your loved one has experienced some type of nursing home abuse, contact the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones today to schedule your free initial consultation. We advocate for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We will work hard to make sure your loved one gets the quality care that they deserve.