Nursing Home Abuse Takes Many Forms
While many people think of physical abuse when they hear the phrase “nursing home abuse,” the fact is, nursing home abuse can take many forms. It’s important to understand the different types of nursing home abuse so that you are better able to recognize the signs.
The main types of nursing home abuse are:
- Physical Abuse: This includes unwanted physical contact, such as hitting, pinching, slapping, grabbing, shoving, or pushing residents
- Neglect: Unlike other forms of abuse, neglect is not always intentional in nature (though it can be); neglect involves providing substandard care, such as underfeeding residents
- Confinement: Keeping nursing home residents restrained, isolated, or otherwise confined is a form of abuse
- Emotional Abuse: This involves things like belittling, yelling, humiliating, name-calling, threatening, or manipulating residents
- Sexual Abuse: Elderly sexual abuse involves any unwanted sexual contact between a caregiver and an elderly individual, including sexual assault, abuse, and rape
- Financial Exploitation: This involves taking advantage of an elderly individual so as to gain access to their finances
As you can see, nursing home abuse goes beyond shoving residents or failing to provide them with proper medications. Any substandard treatment or mistreatment of elderly nursing home or assisted living residents is a form of abuse—and it should never be tolerated.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Knowing the signs of potential nursing home abuse is important; your elderly loved one may be unable to recognize the abuse or they may be unwilling to speak up about it out of fear. In many cases, you may be the frontline of protection in regards to your loved one’s safety.
Some of the many warning signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises or broken bones
- Falls and fall-related injuries
- Untreated bedsores/pressure ulcers
- Signs of physical or chemical restraint (marks on the wrists/ankles, over-medication, etc.)
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Medication errors or purposeful withholding of medications
- Unexplained and unusual changes in your loved one’s behavior or mood
- Signs of fear or agitation in the presence of a certain caregiver
- Nursing home staff being unwilling to allow you to be alone with a resident
- Bruising on or around the genitals, buttocks, or female breast
- Changes to your loved one’s will, trust, power of attorney, or other financial documents
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Forged checks or signatures
- Wandering or elopement
It’s important to visit your loved one often and remain observant. Does the facility seem clean and sanitized? Is there a good staff-to-resident ratio? Do you have access to your loved one’s doctor/care team? Are you permitted to be alone with your loved one? Are there social activities available for residents?
If you suspect anything is wrong, do not hesitate to reach out to the nursing home administrator. If you believe your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important to report it right away. Then, contact our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys to learn how we can help you fight to hold the liable person or party accountable and seek the fair recovery your loved one is owed.