For many people in the United States, nursing homes are the best option to care for their aging relatives so that they have the support and care that they need. However, an unfortunate reality is that in many nursing homes around the country, the elder residents are not given the care they need and are subject to harm and abuse that can be difficult to identify.
If you suspect that your relative has been abused in their nursing home, then you should look for other signs of abuse to determine if it is occurring.
Abuse comes in many forms, not all easy to detect
While there may be obvious signs of nursing home abuse that you can visually see, in many situations, the abuse will not be as easy to identify and you will need carefully consider the evidence.
Physical injuries can be the first sign
Signs of physical abuse can be the easiest to notice. if you see injuries on your relative, such as bruising, partially healed wounds, cuts, or other lingering injuries, these can be caused by abuse. You should investigate these injuries if you find them. Abrasions or bruising can be a sign of physical or sexual abuse, so if you see these then you should report it.
Changes in behavior can be an indicator of abuse
If you notice significant changes in your loved one’s behavior, that can also be a sign of abuse. If they are not very talkative, being withdrawn and acting abnormally that can be a sign that they are being harassed or abused by staff. If they are not sleeping or eating properly that can be signs of stress caused by abuse.
Abuse can also be caused by neglect
Sometimes the signs of abuse are caused by a failure of the nursing home staff to care for your loved one. This can manifest in uncleanliness, bed sores, dehydration, and other signs that should have been addressed by the staff.
Theft is also a form of abuse
Many cases of elder abuse involve theft of possessions or money from nursing home residents by their caretakers, and if you notice that things are going missing, or that your loved one is always out of money, that could be a sign of abuse. You should take steps to stop this by removing valuables from the residence or placing them in a secure location.
Report abuse when you find it
Nobody deserves to be mistreated, especially the elderly. So if you believe that there is abuse going on, then your first decision should be to report it to the appropriate authorities. If you think criminal actions were involved then you should call the police and get law enforcement to investigate. An elder law attorney may also be necessary to fully address the issue.