Nursing home abuse can sometimes be difficult to identify. While nursing home abuse is certainly prevalent, it’s also one of the most underreported crimes in the country. Additionally, it may go unnoticed for long periods of time due to a lack of family member presence. This gets even worse if the elderly patient happens to suffer from memory loss or is unable to communicate to staff members.
If you or a loved one is a nursing home resident, you may be confused as to what exactly constitutes abuse or neglect. The most common examples include bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, improper hygiene or sanitation efforts, preventable accidents, and sub-par medical services.
Warning Signs of Abuse or Neglect
Elderly patients may not always be able to tell family member’s what’s happening to them. This can be due to communication problems, memory loss, or even shame. Here are some common indications that your loved one may be experiencing some kind of problem in the facility.
- They have frequent, new bedsores
- There’s a sudden change in their behavior which may include withdrawing emotionally
- They’re very quiet around staff or caretakers
- They have unexplained marks, bruises, or bleeding
- They appear to be physically uncomfortable for no known reason
- They develop infections, diseases, or viruses that can’t be explained
- There has been a sudden shift in their financial matters, such as bills going unpaid or money missing
- There have been sudden changes to their power of attorney or will
Reporting Abuse or Neglect
Any person who sees the warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect must report the incident as soon as they can. Certain states require everyone to report any suspicion of nursing home abuse. Additionally, public, social, or government workers are required by law to report these types of cases. When reporting nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important to disclose as many details as you can.
To report a nursing home, take the following actions:
- Call 911 immediately if the case is severe or life-threatening.
- Involve the patient’s doctor, social worker, and any other participants in their healthcare team — unless they are involved in the abuse. Notify them of the situation and ask for guidance regarding any immediate health concerns.
- Search for state-specific information by contacting the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
- Browse the National Center on Elder Abuse webpage for specific directions for filing a complaint in your state.
- Contact an experienced nursing home lawyer who can help you seek compensation for the person who has been injured or abused.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a nursing home lawyer, like a nursing home lawyer in Baltimore, MD, to discuss your options.
Thanks to Brown Kiely LLP for their insight into how to report nursing home abuse or neglect.