Seven Signs that a Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect is alarmingly commonplace across the United States. Another stark reality is that in nearly all cases, a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect is unable to effectively advocate for his or her self. As a consequence, taking action in regard to nursing home abuse or neglect falls into the hands of family members and other loved ones of an individual who has been or is being victimized in this matter.

Seven signs indicative of a nursing home resident experiencing abuse or neglect are:
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Broken or missing possessions
  • Unexplained bone fractures
  • Easily scared or startled
  • Untreated medical issues
  • Bloodied or torn garments
Social Withdrawal

A common sign that a nursing home resident is being abused or neglected is social withdrawal. Oftentimes, social withdrawal associated with abuse or neglect is sudden and stark. With that said, there are instances in which social withdrawal can occur as the result of a medical or psychological condition unrelated to abuse or neglect. As a consequence, when social withdrawal of a loved one in a nursing home is detected, intervention is necessary for a number of possible reasons.

Unexplained Bruises

While it is true that elderly people can and do bruise easy, unexplained bruising can be indicative of nursing home abuse or neglect. For this reason, family members and other loved ones of a nursing home resident need to be aware of any bruises. Bear in mind that bruises associated with abuse and neglect can occur on parts of a person's body that are not normally visible.

Broken or Missing Possessions

Yet another relatively commonplace sign of nursing home abuse or neglect is broken or missing possessions. These include possessions like medical devices, and frequently eyeglasses. Possessions can break during a physical assault. However, they can also break for other reasons and not be promptly replaced, which is a sign of neglect.

Unexplained Bone Fractures

Like bruises, unexplained bone fractures can be signs of abuse or neglect in a skilled care facility. What is particularly shocking about unexplained bone fractures is that a nursing home resident might experience a fracture in an abusive situation that is not addressed for an extended period of time. The staff member responsible may take significant steps to conceal a resident's fracture.

Easily Scared or Startled

A nursing home resident targeted for abuse is apt to easily startle or be unusually scared around others, even that individual's loved ones. This type of reaction can also develop over time if a skilled care center resident is neglected. The resident develops a lack of trust in others as the result of not receiving proper care and assistance.

Untreated Medical Issues

Untreated medical issues are signs for both nursing home neglect as well as abuse. In point of fact, one of the most common types of nursing home neglect is lack of appropriate medical care and treatment. As noted previously, untreated medical issues can also arise in a situation involving physical abuse.

As an aside, misuse of medication is another indication a nursing home resident is not being provided proper care. There are a considerable number of cases each year in which nursing home residents are over-medicated or provided unnecessary medications to "keep them docile."

Bloodied or Torn Garments

Finally, a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect is bloodied or torn clothing items. Bloodied or torn clothing can arise from incidents of physical abuse. In addition, a resident might fall or have some other type of accident which results in bloodied or torn clothing. As a result of nursing home neglect, those clothing items are not appropriately cleaned or replaced as necessary.

If you recognize one or more of these signs indicative of nursing home abuse or neglect, there are some crucial steps you need to take:
  • Notify law enforcement
  • Notify adult protective services
  • Make a report to nursing home administrator
  • Remove victim from nursing home
  • Schedule initial consultation with experienced nursing home abuse attorney
As a matter of practice, a nursing home abuse lawyer will schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation at no cost and no obligation to a prospective client.
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