When you make the emotionally difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, you have every right to expect that he or she will be well taken care of. Although most nursing home employees are hardworking and conscientious, it only takes a few bad apples to cause serious harm. In addition, many nursing homes are intentionally understaffed to save on expenses, meaning employees are overworked and more prone to mistakes. Training may be skimpy, and screening procedures for new hires may be lax.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse can take various forms:
- Physical abuse includes inadequately explained bruises, fractures, scrapes, sores, lacerations, burns, and forced restraint.
- Emotional abuse may lead to the resident being fearful or depressed, withdrawing from social interaction, displaying other unusual behavior, or possibly losing weight or hair. Sexual-abuse symptoms often overlap physical- and emotional-abuse symptoms.
- Financial exploitation of a vulnerable resident may involve influencing them to initiate certain financial transactions or change their will, among other possibilities.
- A resident’s daily needs may be neglected—proper hygiene, nutrition, medical care, and access to medical aids (e.g., glasses, dentures, etc.), among others.
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect and it’s an emergency, call 911 immediately. If the situation is not life-threatening, promptly register your concerns with management, and contact local law enforcement or the district attorney’s office to file a report.
An Experienced Nursing Home Attorney Can Help