5 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse that Can Be Overlooked
Nursing home abuse is a significant public health issue in the United States, with untold numbers of residents needlessly suffering due to the wrongful acts of the very people who are supposed to be caring for them.
It is common knowledge among people familiar with the industry that nursing home abuse is underreported, but the statistics that have been gathered suggest the problem is widespread and affects thousands of people every year.
The reasons that nursing home abuse goes unreported vary. In some cases, residents may be too scared or ashamed to admit that they have suffered abuse at the hands of their caregivers.
In others, residents are unaware that the abuse is occurring or are unable to verbalize it. Whatever the reason, nursing home abuse is unacceptable and people injured by the negligence or willful conduct of nursing home staff are entitled to justice.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should do everything in your power to ensure that they are receiving proper care and are not being mistreated, starting with familiarizing yourself with the common signs of nursing home abuse.
Unfortunately, not all signs of abuse are as clear as bruises or black eyes, and many go overlooked for weeks, months, or years. Five of the most commonly overlooked signs of abuse are discussed in detail below.
Many older adults lose weight and become frail with age. In some cases, however, frailty and weight loss are the result of nursing home residents not receiving enough food, which may be a sign of abuse or neglect.
Closely monitor your loved one’s weight, food intake, and report any concerns to the administrator of the facility.
Sometimes, nursing home staff will overmedicate residents to make them more compliant or “easier to deal with.”
While it is certainly true that the use of sedatives or anti-anxiety medications has a place in the nursing-home setting, these kinds of medications should only be used for the benefit of the residents, not to make the caretakers’ jobs easier.
Some common signs of overmedication include the following:
• Abdominal pain
• Difficulty concentrating
• Slurred speech
• Issues with coordination and motor skills
• Unexplained changes in weight• Flushed skin or rashes
• Mood changes
Unexplained Injuries and Bedsores
Abuse and neglect can often result in minor injuries for which nursing home residents do not have an explanation. Look out for injuries like bruises, bed sores, scratches, scrapes, sprains, and strains.
If your loved one seems like he or she is in pain, try to determine how their injury occurred and report the matter to nursing home staff as soon as possible.
If you believe that there is immediate physical danger, call your local law enforcement agency or Adult Protective Services immediately.
Another common sign of abuse or neglect that you may not immediately recognize is unsanitary living conditions.
Nursing home residents are often unable to clean up after themselves or require help when using the restroom or bathing – which is often a large part of the reason they have taken up residence in the first place.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep their residents’ living areas clean and livable; failure to do so is neglect, at a minimum.
Depression can be caused by mistreatment or neglect by nursing home staff. If your loved one seems depressed, you should be on the lookout for any other signs of neglect or abuse.
Also, ask whether they have been mistreated, and bring the issue to the attention of the nursing home’s management.
When to Call an Attorney
Many people who recognize the signs of abuse wonder when they should contact a lawyer. The answer to this questions is simple – right away.
Waiting to take legal action can result in the loss or destruction of evidence critical to the case against the nursing home.
In addition, when you wait to file a claim, memories may fade, employees may leave, and other issues related to the passage of time may make it harder for your loved one to pursue their claim.
How Much Will Nursing Home Abuse Representation Cost?
You or your loved one may be hesitant to contact an attorney due to a belief that attorneys charge exorbitant hourly rates and that you cannot afford legal representation.
It is important to understand that the nursing home abuse lawyers of Miller Weber Kory never charge up-front fees when they are representing the victims of nursing home injuries.
In fact, we will only collect legal fees in the event that we successfully recover a settlement or verdict on behalf of our client.
Furthermore, we will advance any up-front costs associated with your case, including the use of experts and conducting an investigation into the facility that harmed you or your loved one.
By using this type of arrangement, we can ensure that anyone who needs legal representation as a result of nursing home abuse is able to get it.
Contact Miller Weber Kory Today to Discuss Your Case
If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call Miller Weber Kory LLP today at 602-648-4045 or contact us online.