A recent study estimated that only one in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities. This is even more frightening when you consider the fact that over 40% of nursing home residents in the U.S. have reported abuse. Over 90% have reported that either they or another resident have suffered from neglect in a nursing home. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or receiving any type of assisted care, it’s important to do your part to always be on the lookout for the most common signs of nursing home neglect or abuse. What are they? Let’s take a look:
Your loved one becomes withdrawn or less social.
First, be on the lookout for mental or emotional signs of abuse or neglect, which often manifest themselves as antisocial behavior or being generally withdrawn. Your loved one may start to lose interest in hobbies and activities that they previously enjoyed. They may talk less and become quieter with each visit. Of course, there are plenty of physical signs too — bruises, bedsores, etc. The most important point is to understand that each case is different, and just because you may not notice these signs with your loved one doesn’t mean abuse or neglect is not occurring.
Deflected or dismissed answers from medical staff.
If you’re trying to communicate with medical staff regarding the condition of your loved one, when they last ate, took medication, etc., you should usually get a straight answer. If staff members are giving you unclear or inconsistent answers, this could be a major red flag. Of course, it’s understandable for staff members to have to get back to you before answering certain questions, but your questions should usually get a straight answer.
Malnourishment or dehydration.
Finally, lookout for signs of dehydration or malnutrition. This is usually a result of nursing home care that has an inadequate number of employees and is understaffed, although it’s certainly no excuse for neglect.
Keep in mind that these signs are just clues of nursing home abuse, not hard evidence. Still, it’s always good to stay conscientious and know the signs and personal injury claims potentially involved with such cases. For more information or legal help regarding nursing home abuse or personal injury claims, contact the law offices of Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico.