Placing your elderly relative in a nursing home is a difficult decision, and nobody wants to think about the possibility of their loved one suffering from abuse or neglect while they are there. All too often, cases of nursing home abuse or neglect are under-reported. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, neglected, or financially exploited, you need to know how to recognize the signs.
Signs Your Loved One Could Be in a Harmful Situation
Relatives must be on the lookout for signs that their loved one is suffering from one or more of the following forms of elder abuse:
- Physical abuse. If your loved one shows any signs of a physical injury, you should investigate the situation immediately. Injuries can include unexplained broken bones, burns, bruises, blisters, slap marks, or welts. Other evidence can include failing to take medications properly, broken eyeglasses, or signs that restraints have been used improperly. If nursing home caregivers refuse to leave you alone with your loved one, this is also a cause for concern.
- Emotional abuse. If you observe unusual behavior in your relative, such as mumbling, rocking, or sucking one’s thumb, this could indicate they are being abused emotionally. Although these signs could point to symptoms of dementia, they are worth investigating. Any kind of belittling, controlling, or threatening behavior that you witness is also a sign of emotional abuse that you should report immediately.
- Sexual abuse. Sexually transmitted diseases or genital infections could point to sexual abuse. Other signs include bruising near the genital area or breasts and unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding that is not related to a medical condition.
- Caregiver neglect. If your loved one’s personal hygiene has deteriorated, this could point to caregiver neglect. Watch for overgrown nails, dirty clothes or bed linens, bedsores, unusual weight loss or dehydration, and unsafe living conditions, such as the presence of bugs or dirty conditions.
- Financial exploitation. Elders are especially vulnerable to financial exploitation. This often comes in the form of unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, missing cash or valuables from the person’s room, changes in power of attorney, wills, property titles, or insurance, or adding names to credit card accounts.
- Healthcare fraud. Be on the alert for things like duplicate bills for the same services, evidence of your loved one getting too much or too little medication, or signs that they are being neglected because of inadequate staffing.
Elder abuse is illegal, and even if you have the tiniest bit of suspicion, you should report your concerns immediately. Not all of these signs indicate that something is wrong, but they should lead you to consider the possibility. It’s better to be on the safe side to protect your loved one from abuse and neglect.
How a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
It’s crucial to report elder abuse and hold the nursing home and the abusers accountable. Bringing the abuse to light can also help protect other nursing home residents from experiencing the same type of abuse.
Finding out your loved one in a nursing home has been abused or neglected can be devastating to both the resident and their families. Your relative may even need medical treatment for their injuries. After you have discovered and reported the abuse or neglect, you might want to pursue justice through a nursing home abuse legal claim. An experienced attorney can help you with the following items:
- Gathering evidence to strengthen your case, including relevant documents, statements, and other records
- Getting you and your loved one financial compensation through a lawsuit
- Ensuring the nursing home and the abusers are held liable for their actions
You Need a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer in Anchorage
If your loved one is a nursing home resident in Alaska who is being abused or neglected, Ben Crittenden is an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney who can help protect your loved one’s legal rights and hold caregivers responsible. Call Ben today at 907-885-6032 or fill out the online contact form to request a free consultation.