Placing your loved one in a nursing home is not an easy decision. When you decide that they need this level of care, it can be just as hard to decide what facility is right for them. You may have spent countless hours determining which nursing home would provide them the best care. Now, you are concerned that your loved one might be the victim of nursing home abuse. You may be wondering what to do next. By contacting a skilled Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorney, you can get the assistance you need to help your loved one.
The Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse in the United States is more common than many people think. One study published by the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect reported that as many as 24.3% of nursing home residents experienced at least one occurrence of physical abuse while in a nursing home. Americans over the age of 60 are more likely to become victims of abuse due to possible dementia and other disabilities. Physical abuse is a common form of nursing home abuse, as is neglect.
Watching for the Signs of Abuse and Neglect in a Nursing Home
Sadly, abuse and neglect of the elderly population are highly underreported. Nursing home residents sometimes do not tell their family members or otherwise report the abuse they suffer because they fear retaliation or embarrassment. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should be on the lookout for the common signs of possible abuse. Your loved one is counting on you. If you do notice any of these signs or anything else suspicious, reach out to a compassionate Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer for legal help.
Physical injuries are often the most common and telling signs of nursing home abuse. Keeping a watchful eye on your loved one’s physical condition can help you detect nursing home abuse and neglect early. For example, new or worsening bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, could be a sign that your loved one is not receiving the medical care or necessary repositioning that they require. Other physical injuries to watch for that could indicate abuse or neglect in a nursing home include:
- Unexplained broken bones, dislocations, or sprains
- Bruising, lacerations, scars, or welts
- Signs of restraint, such as rope marks on the elder’s wrist
- Head injuries
- Broken eyeglasses
- Having an unusual/unexplained loss of weight or dehydration
Some seniors may even try to hide these physical injuries or signs from their families and friends. Nevertheless, noting the physical condition of a nursing home resident can help detect abuse and neglect when it occurs. If the injuries of your loved one in a nursing home are not adding up, be sure to reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney in Pennsylvania as soon as possible for help.
Signs Caregiver/Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing homes are charged with providing for the physical needs of those in their care. In part, this means keeping the facility clear of pests and rodents, having reliable plumbing and running water, maintaining a clean facility, and keeping it at a comfortable temperature. It also means assisting those in their care with activities of daily living (ADL) and hygiene, such as washing their hair or brushing their teeth. Signs that the nursing home is not providing the care that they should be giving include:
- Allowing the resident to wander outside of the facility
- Unsafe living conditions, such as a lack of heat, faulty electrical wiring, fire hazards or lack of running water
- Dressing the resident unsuitably for the weather
- Not bathing the resident or leaving them dirty
- The resident has soiled bed clothing, dirty clothes, bugs or dirty condition
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Emotional or Behavioral Changes
Another common sign that nursing home residents will sometimes display if they are the victims of some type of caregiver abuse is psychological or behavioral changes. These can sometimes resemble symptoms of dementia but can also include:
- Frequent crying
- Complaints of poor treatment
- Mumbling behaviors
- Sucking one’s thumb
- Rocking behaviors
Noting any of these behaviors could be a sign that your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect of various forms in a nursing home. Discussing them with a Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer could be the first step in seeking justice for your family member.
Circumstances or instances that are out of the ordinary for the nursing home or for your loved one can also be a hallmark sign that abuse or neglect is occurring with the facility. Unexpected falls, medication errors or overdoses, and untimely or unexplained deaths can all be red flags that something is not right within the facility. All of these situations warrant investigation and further attention.
Take Action if You Notice the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, it is time to act. If your loved one tells you something, believe them, and follow up. Some family members may be reluctant to do anything or report what is going on, but your elderly loved one is relying on you for their safety and well-being. Talking to a well-versed nursing home abuse attorney in Pennsylvania can help you determine what your next steps should be to help your loved one.
When You Need a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Pennsylvania
Noticing any of the signs of abuse can leave you shocked and overwhelmed, wondering what to do next. When you need a compassionate Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorney, we are here. Your loved one should not have to suffer at the hands of nursing home staff, whether it is intentional physical abuse or not meeting their basic needs. Our compassionate and professional staff can help your loved one receive compensation for their injuries. It all starts with a nursing home abuse or neglect case consultation.