Call or Text Us For A Free Case Evaluation: 317.920.6400 | 800.525.8028 Search Site

What are the warning signs of nursing home abuse?

August 26, 2016

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse can be defined as an intentional cause of injury, intimidation, confinement, deprivation of service or care, or punishment that results in physical or mental pain to an elder. Nursing home abuse and neglect first came to light in the 1970’s when facilities were relatively unregulated. More than 30 years later, the horror stories continue.

Even when abuse is minor, elders who were abused are at a 300% higher risk of premature death. Nursing home abuse can be hard to spot because of the shame or humiliation reporting the abuse can cause. In addition, residents may lack the physical strength to ward off abusers. That’s why it’s important that friends and family members visit often and know what to look for. Be on the lookout for the following signs.

Warning Signs of Physical Abuse

Common signs your loved one may be suffering from physical abuse include:

  • Unexplained injuries (e.g. broken bones, fractures, bruises, sprains, scars, dislocations and lacerations)
  • Susceptibility to new illnesses, including sexually transmitted infections
  • Persistent complaints of pain or discomfort
  • Overmedication, refusal to take medication, or a report of drug overdose
  • Signs of being physically restrained, such as marks around the wrists
  • Silence, uneasiness, or isolation in the presence of caretakers
  • Premature death

Warning Signs of Neglect

To qualify as neglect, mistreatment can be either intentional or unintentional. It comes down to whether or not a caregiver is taking the appropriate measures to ensure that the resident is given the necessities to live a happy, safe, and healthy lifestyle. The goal is to help them live independently like they were in the past. Warning signs of neglect include:

  • Poor sanitation and hygiene
  • Untreated bedsores
  • Malnutrition and/or dehydration
  • Exacerbated pre-existing illnesses or health conditions
  • Unsanitary living conditions, such as fleas, dirt, or soiled clothing

Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse

Of all elderly abuse types, elderly sexual abuse might be the most horrific. Worse yet, sexual abuse is committed by a primary caretaker in a nursing home facility 81% of the time. Only 30% of victims actually report their abuse. Help increase the number of reports if you’ve spotted any of these warning signs:

  • Bruises or injuries on inner thighs and/or a patient’s genitalia
  • Emergence of sexually transmitted infections
  • Torn or bloody undergarments

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the hardest to detect and is therefore the hardest to study. So far, researchers have discovered that the most common signs of emotional abuse are:

  • Sudden change in power of attorney
  • Sudden change in will
  • Overdue bills or financial difficulties
  • Silence and isolation in the presence of caretakers
  • Agitation, depression, and/or lethargy

Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation

When a patient is bedridden, there shouldn’t be any ATM withdrawals from their bank accounts. Unfortunately, these things happen all too often. Financial exploitation costs the elderly approximately $2.6 billion annually. Review your loved ones’ finances regularly and be wary if you notice any of these changes:

  • Unpaid medical bills, care, and expenses when the elder’s financial situation was sustainable in the past
  • Unnecessary care and expenses
  • Suspicious or significant withdrawals from the elder’s bank account
  • Significant changes in overall financial condition

Request A Free Case Evaluation

Fill out the form below to receive a free and confidential initial consultation.

Submitting your information does not automatically create an attorney-client relationship. I agree