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Nursing Home Abuse Cases

As the United States population ages, nursing homes and care facilities have sprung up to meet the demand of an aging society. Unfortunately, some of these facilities either do not offer adequate care for their clients or are outright negligent. This can and has resulted in serious injury or death to clients through no fault of their own. Many older folks don’t have family or friends to act as their advocates, allowing nursing homes to either ignore their needs or take advantage of them.

Many nursing home residents are not aware they are being abused or neglected, nor do they realize they have legal rights to proper care. The abuse might be physical, but it can also be psychological or even financial if the facility is improperly or illegally taking money from the residents. Nursing homes have an obligation to provide care to a recognized standard, so failure to do so is cause for legal action against them. Keep in mind that older people are more fragile and unstable, so not every injury to a person in a nursing home is abuse. The key is finding issues that cannot be explained by the effects of aging or an accidental fall.

Physical abuse

If you notice changes in the physical appearance of a loved one in a nursing home, look for these signs of possible abuse:

  • Unexplained bruises, broken bones, sprains, or other injuries
  • Bruises on wrists or ankles which can be caused by restraints
  • Evidence of over-medication to keep residents quiet or compliant
  • Evidence the resident has been force-fed

Emotional abuse

This can be difficult to determine or prove since emotional changes are common in nursing home patients. But look for sudden changes in mood, sadness, depression, nervous, or acting fearful particularly if these are not normal moods for your loved one. Emotional abuse comes in a variety of forms:

  • Threats of physical injury
  • Intimidation
  • Yelling at the resident or belittling them
  • Deliberately isolating residents from others
  • Demeaning or embarrassing acts forced on residents

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse of nursing home residents can be very difficult to identify or prove, because in many cases the resident has no memory of the assault or abuse. The abuse may also not come from the staff, but from other residents, visitors, or even family members. Some possible signs of sexual abuse include:

  • Torn or bloody underwear
  • Bruising or injury to vaginal or anal areas
  • Venereal diseases

Financial abuse

Nursing homes have been known to take advantage of residents financially, particularly when the resident has memory problems or is particularly trusting by nature. This abuse might also be perpetrated by other residents or even visitors who gain the trust of a resident. Some examples of financial abuse include:

  • Identity theft
  • Stealing credit card or bank information
  • Theft of cash, jewelry, or other valuables
  • Check forging
  • Fake investment or charity fraud

Neglect abuse

Neglect of a nursing home resident can be very difficult to determine, because in many cases there are no physical signs that neglect is happening. But there are some things you can look for if you suspect a loved one is being neglected:

  • Basic needs are not met including withholding food or water which results in unexplained weight loss, dehydration, or a degraded health condition beyond what would be expected.
  • Failure to keep the resident’s room, bed, or bathroom areas clean or sanitary.
  • The staff fails to help residents with personal hygiene such as bathing, brushing teeth, laundry cleaning, or changing clothes and bedding.
  • Medical needs are ignored including failure to administer proper medications or when needed, lack of assistance for residents who cannot move on their own, or failure to move residents who cannot turn in bed which can result in bed sores or bad infections.
  • Failure of the staff to provide emotional support by either ignoring the resident or isolating them from others, resulting in a degrading emotional state or other behavioral problems not explained by their physical or mental condition.

Dino Law has attorneys well versed in nursing home law and signs of abuse. If you have a loved one you suspect is a victim of any nursing home abuse, contact us today so we can being investigating your case and help you quickly take action to resolve the issues or seek legal remedies.