Determining If Your Family Member Is Being Abused in a Nursing Home
When a loved one is residing in an assisted care facility, it is crucial that friends and family members are not lulled into believing that nursing home abuse could never happen. Like other forms of abuse, it is often hidden behind smiles and pretensions of caring. Nursing home abuse happens when no one is around and done in a way that is far from obvious.
That means that family members need to educate themselves on the different types of abuse that often occur in nursing homes. Looking for signs and symptoms of this behavior requires attention to detail and developing investigative skills you never thought you’d need. Let us look at the main types of nursing home abuse, how to spot them and what you can do about it.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Jeff Morris
At my law firm, we’ve worked with numerous families dealing with the abuse of their loved ones in a nursing home. They are angry and need help in keeping their family member safe. We are prepared to help them do just that.
We assist the family in building a strong case against the nursing home. A nursing home does not have the right to employ attendants that abuse residents and avoid weeding out the people who do it. They also don’t have the right to fail to vet and adequately train members of their staff. In addition, the facility must have and use policies that assure proper medical care and prevent financial harm to the residents.
If you suspect that your family member is suffering from nursing home abuse, call us at (843) 232-0944 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
Physical Nursing Home Abuse
Thirty percent of nursing home abuse is physical. It is usually intentional and meant to punish or instill intimidation or fear of the at-fault party. Some acts associated with physical abuse are:
- Inflicting pain by using an object
Don’t think that each act of physical abuse will be obvious, but over time, an increased number of contusions might be a signal this is happening.
This is a violation of the resident’s physical being and can include sexual intercourse, inappropriate photos and other acts. Studies have shown that older residents have a higher risk of being abused in this way. Signs that sexual abuse is ongoing include:
- A diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
- Bruises about the genitals or stains on clothing
- Inappropriate interactions with staff
Psychological, Emotional or Verbal Abuse
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 60 percent of nursing home abuse is in this category. Signs that abuse is occurring are:
- Resident isolation
- Loss of phone or internet privileges
- Taking away activities that are mentally stimulating
This may be difficult to spot since members of the staff that engage in this form of nursing home abuse instill fear of reprisal if the family is alerted to such acts.
This type of abuse focuses on neglecting proper care and cleanliness. Signs of neglect include:
- Not reporting injuries
- Not registering resident complaints
- Not bathing the resident on a regular basis
- Body sores
- Not providing medications as they are ordered
Financial Nursing Home Abuse
Financial abuse is not limited to staff members. A large portion of this type of abuse also involves a family member. Signs of this type of abuse include:
- Deliberately taking advantage of the power of attorney
- Stealing money from the resident, usually through illegal access to bank accounts
- Having financial documents or a copy sent to the abuser and not the resident
- Forging signatures on important financial documents
If the resident is malnourished, their ability to fight infection or other physical stresses is decreased. It will also interfere with the dosage of prescribed medication. Some symptoms are:
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Dry skin
- Failure to maintain a healthy mental status
- Kidney problems
- Wrongful death
An effort to leave the resident to their own devices to survive is a form of nursing home abuse. By not monitoring food intake or hygiene, the resident is basically left on their own. This can be related to family or staff abuse.
Water and other liquids are necessary for survival. If liquids are withheld or diminished for a reason not related to the resident’s well-being, dehydration can occur. Many times, this occurs because the resident cannot hold their urine, and withholding fluids makes it easier on the staff. Signs of dehydration are:
- Dark urine
- Infrequent urination
- Complaints of sore or weak muscles
- Overt thirst
- Complaints of dry mouth
Filing a Complaint and Lawsuit Against the Nursing Home
It is necessary that the authorities are alerted to the nursing home abuse. Usually, an alert friend or family member provides this information. In addition, it is necessary to file a lawsuit against the nursing home to obtain the compensation the resident deserves. The need for this response is clear since almost 5 million nursing home residents are abused annually.
Call the Morris Law Firm
By filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit, the family and the abused resident obtain justice for such wrongdoings. The cost of medical care due to the abuse, the pain and suffering the resident endured and mental health costs that are needed are all covered. If the behavior of the nursing home staff is especially egregious, punitive damages can also be recovered. If the resident died due to nursing home abuse, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed.
Call the Morris Law Firm at (843) 232-0944 in the Myrtle Beach area to get started. We will investigate the abuse and use the information to hold the at-fault parties accountable. You can also reach out to us online.