When you place a loved one into a nursing home, you do so with the expectation that all members of the staff will treat them with the care they deserve.
This does not always happen. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are relatively common throughout the nation.
Many instances of nursing home abuse and neglect might also go unreported. Often, victims of mistreatment are either too frightened to come forward or lack the mental capacities to fully understand that they are being victimized.
It is frequently up to the loved ones of nursing home residents to identify the signs of abuse and neglect. If you have placed a family member into a nursing home, monitor them for such warning signs as:
Changes in Weight
Sudden changes in a nursing home resident’s weight (which may include sudden increases in their weight) can be an indicator of malnourishment. Even if a resident appears to have quickly gained weight, this could be because they are not being fed properly, and staff have therefore recently overfed them to hide any signs of neglect from visiting loved ones.
Changes in Mood
Adjusting to life in a nursing home can be a challenging experience even when a resident is not being mistreated. The fact that a nursing home resident has become mildly depressed or withdrawn during the early adjustment period doesn’t necessarily mean they are a victim of abuse.
However, if you notice a very significant change in a loved one’s overall mood or demeanor that doesn’t seem to get better over time, it’s possible abuse or neglect are occurring. Discuss your concerns with them and investigate the matter further if you believe doing so is necessary.
Does your loved one seem to become fearful or reluctant to speak when in the presence of certain nursing home staff members? This is another common sign of abuse.
Remember, fear can prevent a nursing home resident from openly admitting they are being treated poorly. If you have a very strong reason to believe your loved one is being abused or neglected, don’t immediately accept that you are wrong simply because they claim they are being treated perfectly well when you ask about the subject.
Unexplained Bruises or Injuries
Naturally, you should pay attention to any signs indicating your loved one has been injured while in a nursing home. Along with checking for bruises and injuries, you should also check them for bed sores and other signs of neglect.
Financial Red Flags
Financial abuse is an often-overlooked but nevertheless common form of nursing home abuse. It occurs when a nursing home staff member steals from a resident or convinces them under false pretenses to give them money.
If you have the option of keeping an eye on your loved one’s financial accounts, make a point of doing so. Any unexplained changes should concern you.
What to Do When a Loved One is a Nursing Home Abuse Victim
Don’t dismiss your own worries if you believe your loved one has been abused or neglected at a nursing home. Remove them from the environment, report your concerns to ownership, and alert law enforcement to ensure the matter is investigated thoroughly.
Your loved one may be eligible to recover financial compensation if it is discovered that they have been victimized. At Colucci, Colucci & Marcus, P.C., a Boston nursing home abuse attorney can help them recover what they are owed. Learn more about how we can help during this painful time by contacting us online or calling us at 617-698-6000.