What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

Family members of an aging loved one may do their best to find the right nursing home facility. After several visits to their loved one, they may feel as though something isn’t quite right, but are unable to identify what it is. Sadly, nursing home abuse happens all too often. Abuse can be physical, emotional, and financial, and is commonly inflicted upon residents by ill-intentioned members of the care staff.

Family members, upon realizing what is happening, may become outraged and want to know what they can do to seek justice. It is recommended that relatives seek guidance from an attorney about what to do next.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

As stated above, there are many ways that a resident may endure abuse. Seniors are more vulnerable to being abused because their bodies are weaker than they used to be, and may have physical or cognitive impairments that prevent them from standing up for themselves. It is important that family members of the senior resident understand the signs of abuse or neglect, so they can take action to remove them from the facility right away.

Physical Abuse

When a senior resident is being physically abused, the signs are more often compared to other types of abuse. Physical abuse can lead to visible injuries, such as broken bones, cuts, and bruising. Care staff who are being physically abusive may be strategic and only cause wounds where clothing would cover it up. Family members who visit their loved one may want to gently examine their loved one for signs of physical harm. 

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse occurs when a member of the care staff hurts the wellbeing or self-esteem of a senior resident. This can take form through yelling, isolating, making fun, or manipulating them into making certain decisions. Emotional abuse may sometimes coincide with physical harm, but not always. Family members must investigate further if their loved one suddenly appears afraid, has mood swings, refuses help from specific care staff, and doesn’t answer questions directly.

Financial Abuse

The residents in a nursing home may be vulnerable to being financially exploited by care staff. These seniors have likely spent their entire lives saving up money and preparing for their departure by creating an estate plan and organizing finances. Care staff by becoming close to residents with the goal of gaining their trust so they can obtain financial information. If family members notice weird transactions through their senior relative’s credit or debit cards, or recent transferring of money to a person they don’t recognize the name of, then it’s time to put an end to the financial abuse before it can worsen.

If you are the close relative of a senior person in a nursing home and suspect that any of the above may be occurring, your first step is to notify law enforcement and an attorney so you can take swift action to get them somewhere safe. Experienced nursing home malpractice lawyers can also help you file a lawsuit against the individual and/or organization.