Some signs of nursing home abuse that could point to verbal, physical, or sexual mistreatment of a senior include:
- Unexplained weight and hair loss
- Frequent fractures and dislocations
- Extensive unexplained bruising
- Marked changes in character such as isolation and withdrawal
- Depression or anxiety
- Fear of certain caregivers
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Bruises or bleeding in the genital area
- New or worsening bedsores
- Lack of personal hygiene and grooming
- Frequent infections
There may be other signs of abuse or general neglect in a facility, such as a lack of hygiene. Observing caregivers calling residents names or handling them roughly should raise red flags immediately.
What Happens if Your Loved One Can’t Tell You They’re Being Abused?
The signs of nursing home abuse and neglect may be difficult to detect, especially if there are no obvious injuries or marks on the senior’s body. If your loved one tells you that they are suffering in their nursing home, you should investigate and alert the nursing home.
In some cases, seniors in nursing homes may not be able to talk about what happened to them as they could be non-verbal or suffer from cognitive problems such as dementia. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), seniors with dementia can be a preferred target for abusers. When your loved one is unable or unwilling to speak about any mistreatment or abuse, you may have to rely on physical or emotional signs for guidance.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Most families move their elderly relatives into nursing homes, hoping they will receive around-the-clock attention and care. However, not all nursing homes are run to a high standard. Nursing home abuse encompasses a wide range of ill-treatment, including neglect, intentional violence, and cruelty.
There can be many types of abuse in nursing homes, including:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- General neglect
It is important to note that all nursing home abuse and neglect is illegal. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 states that nursing homes must care for their residents to maintain or improve their quality of life. Since nursing home abuse is a crime, you could have legal recourse if your elderly relative suffered injuries and financial losses.
In addition to making sure your loved one is safe from any further abuse, you should consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer who can advise you on your legal rights and any potential legal action you could take.
The Nursing Home Could Be Held Responsible
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), approximately 2.5 million vulnerable seniors in nursing homes could be at risk for abuse and neglect. If you detect any unexplained injuries such as bruises, dislocations, or fractures on your loved one, you should take action and demand answers from nursing home staff. Generally, a nursing home is responsible for what happens on the property and has the responsibility to keep residents safe from abuse and neglect.
A home could be liable for your relative’s suffering, injuries, and expenses if they fail to keep your loved one protected. Nursing homes can be understaffed or lack sufficiently trained staff. In this case, caregivers might be stressed and overwhelmed, leading them to neglect or abuse residents.
The nursing home is responsible for adequately staffing the facility and background checking caregivers and other staff members. If the nursing home was understaffed, negligently hired caregivers, or skipped necessary training, this could strengthen your claim against the facility.
Proving Your Claim
In a personal injury or wrongful death case against a skilled nursing facility, you and your nursing home abuse lawyer will have to prove the following elements:
- The nursing home had a legal duty of care
- The home breached the duty of care
- Your loved one’s injuries are a direct result of the breach
- Your loved one suffered injuries and damages
Holding a nursing home to account is no mean feat, and you can expect a facility to put up a fight with their legal counsel. However, having a nursing home abuse lawyer in your corner, fighting for your rights can offer you peace of mind.
An Attorney Can Help You Get Justice
Abuse and neglect of vulnerable and defenseless seniors is an immoral and illegal crime. Seeing your loved one suffer can be extremely upsetting and frustrating for families. However, if your relative endured egregious mistreatment, you are not powerless and should not let the nursing home get away with it.
If your loved one suffered physical and emotional effects from nursing home abuse, you could potentially recover compensation, including medical bills and awards for emotional suffering. Contact Bernstein & Poisson today for a free case review with a lawyer at (702) 633-3333.