5 Types of Nursing Home Abuse to Look For
No one wants to believe that their loved one would be subjected to abuse when placed in a nursing home, but the unfortunate reality is that this does happen. We want you to know what kind of abuse goes on so you can keep an eye out for the people you love. Here are 5 types of nursing home abuse to look for:
1. Physical Abuse
When you think of abuse, physical abuse is probably what comes to your mind first. It is defined as the intentional infliction of pain or injury upon a person, which could include slapping, hitting, kicking, or use of excessive restraint. This may be the most detectable type of nursing home abuse. Keep an eye out for:
- Unexplained injuries, including bruises, sprains, broken bones, burns, etc.
- Caregivers’ reluctance to let you be alone with the resident.
- Refusal to take medication or medication overdoses.
You should also pay close attention to if staff members tell you that these injuries happened due to clumsiness or unexplained falling, especially if these situations aren’t characteristic of your loved one’s health profile.
2. Sexual Abuse
Sometimes residents of a nursing home can become victims of sexual abuse, which is any sexual contact that is unwanted. This type of abuse could include being forced to unnecessarily disrobe or the abuser exposing themselves to the resident. Some warning signs of sexual abuse include:
- Complaints or reports of injuries around genitalia or breasts
- Being diagnosed with STDs
- Stained or torn clothing or bedding
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
Sexual abuse may go hand-in-hand with physical, psychological, or financial abuse. You should keep an eye out for a family member’s personality that has drastically changed with no explanation.
3. Emotional Abuse
While emotional abuse cannot be physically seen, it is still just as despicable. Emotional abuse is verbal and non-verbal acts intended to cause anguish, anxiety, fear, or other forms of distress. In addition to blatant behaviors, emotional abuse can also happen in passive behavior, such as ignoring verbal requests. Some common signs of emotional abuse include:
- PTSD symptoms
- Fearfulness, especially when visitors are leaving
- Refusing to allow you to be alone with the resident
- Questionable behavior of the caregiver in your presence, such as threats
If your loved one shows emotional or psychological symptoms that do not line up with their existing conditions, it may be a sign they are experiencing abuse. Abusers use emotional tactics to control the victim for the purpose of financial or sexual exploitation, making the abuser believe they can prevent the victim from reporting the abuse.
4. Financial Abuse
As you may know, elderly people are more inclined to be taken advantage of financially because of failing mental capacity or eyesight. These people rely on others for basic tasks, making them more susceptible to financial exploitation. Some things you should look out for when it comes to financial abuse include:
- Changes in wills or power of attorney
- Addition of beneficiaries to life insurance policies
- Money or personal property disappearing
- Unexpected charges to credit cards
- Unpaid bills
- Unexplained withdrawals
If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, you should have a designated, trusted individual (such as a CPA, family member, or family attorney) monitor their bank and credit accounts for strange and fraudulent activity.
Neglect is another type of nursing home abuse residents could suffer. Basic neglect is when the everyday needs of the resident aren’t being met, and medical neglect is when treatments aren’t being provided. Some signs of neglect include:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Dirty clothes or bedding
- Poor hygiene
- Undiagnosed or untreated illness
- Medication errors
Any of these circumstances would be signs of neglect.
When the decision is made to put a loved one in a nursing home, you hope these situations never arise. Now you know what types of nursing home abuse to look out for. Do you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse? Contact one of our lawyers today to set up a meeting and discuss your options.