While roughly 1.5 million people live in nursing homes, around one million elderly adults live in assisted living facilities in the US. These residents expect love and care from the nursing home staff. Unfortunately, that may not always be the case.
Although it sounds inconceivable, elderly abuse does happen. It is more common than you think. The best way to protect your loved one is to watch out for potential abuse. The problem is that nursing home abuse takes different forms, making it difficult to spot. And the longer it takes to report, the more your loved one will suffer.
The good news is that you can hire a nursing home abuse attorney to fight for you and your loved one. Your lawyer can hold the nursing home accountable for all the distress caused to your family. But before you get in touch with an attorney, watch out for the signs of abuse.
Several Signs You Need Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you see any of the following warning signs, call a nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
1. Poor Personal Hygiene
This is one of the most common warning signs of nursing home abuse. Most residents in a nursing home cannot care for themselves. As a result, the nursing home is required to wash them once a day, feed them, and provide them with clean clothes. So, the first thing you need to look for is personal hygiene.
The signs of poor personal hygiene include:
- No sign of bath in days
- Poorly kept hair
- Soiled clothes
- Unpleasant body odor
- Bad breath
- Rashes and oily skin
- Food between teeth
If you see these signs, call a nursing home abuse attorney immediately. An experienced lawyer can help you decide the best course of action.
2. Unsanitary Living Conditions
Just like poor personal hygiene, unsanitary living conditions are also a warning sign of nursing home abuse. An unmaintained nursing home speaks volumes about the level of care its residents are getting. This could be due to untrained employees, understaffing, or high employee turnover.
Whatever the causes may be, residents shouldn’t have to live in dirty conditions. The nursing home abuse law requires the homes to provide a clean and healthy living environment to their residents. Most nursing home residents have weakened immune systems. Living in unsanitary conditions can cause infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and influenza.
Call a nursing home abuse attorney if you think they are living in unsanitary conditions. Your lawyer can help you fight for your rights.
Bedsores could be one of the early signs of nursing home abuse. When the pressure against the skin limits the blood flow, it causes bedsores. That’s why bedridden nursing home residents are at high risk of developing these. Moreover, bedsores are extremely painful and can lead to other complications.
However, they are often a result of nursing home neglect. Nursing homes need to provide immobile patients with proper nutrition and hydration. They must also move the residents frequently to prevent bedsores. So, it’s either neglect or abuse. That’s why you need to speak with a nursing home lawyer.
4. Untreated Medical Problems
Most residents in a nursing home also have severe medical conditions, such as a bad heart, weakened immune system, diabetes, and arthritis. These medical conditions can be life-threatening if left untreated. Residents need to receive their medication and treatments on time.
Sometimes, the nursing home staff may not take this responsibility seriously. They could misplace the medication, miss doctor’s appointments, and fail to provide care. If that happens, speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer. An attorney will help you understand what you can do to remedy the situation and even get compensated for the trauma and abuse.
5. Over Medication
Sometimes, medication-related nursing home abuse takes a different turn – overmedication. It can be intentional or because of negligence. Overmedication can cause several physical and mental health issues, such as injury, depression, and cognitive or behavioral changes. It may also lead to death in certain conditions.
The most common symptoms of over medication include:
- Excessive sleeping
- Other unusual behavior
Contact an attorney for nursing home abuse if you see these signs the next time you visit your loved one. But first, make sure to get the proper medical attention. Remember, they may need immediate hospitalization.
6. Unexplained Injuries (from Physical Abuse)
Unexplained injuries are a common sign of physical abuse. Injuries can result from using unnecessary force, restraining a resident, and intentional abuse. As horrible as it sounds, physical abuse happens and often goes unreported, mostly because elderly residents can’t stand up for their rights.
Physical abuse leads to following unexplained injuries.
- Bruises or scrapes
- Broken bones
- Restraint marks on ankles and wrists
If you notice these injuries, talk to your loved one immediately. Moreover, demand an explanation from the nursing home. But, you must seek the advice of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer first.
7. Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is the worst possible nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, this heinous crime continues to haunt residents in nursing homes across the country.
The most common signs of sexual abuse include:
- Bruises or injuries around private areas
- Difficulty when walking or standing up
- Contraction of sexually transmitted diseases
- Sudden preoccupation with sexual issues
The perpetrator can be another resident or a nursing home staff. Regardless of who the perpetrator is, if you see sexual abuse, you must report it immediately. Call a nursing home abuse attorney to determine what you can do.
8. Drastic Weight Loss
A drastic weight loss is a sure sign of malnourishment. Every nursing home resident has the right to proper nutrition. If the nursing home fails to provide the same, you can hold them accountable. First, talk to your family physician to determine the cause of weight loss. Talk to a nursing home attorney if you believe neglect is the reason.
9. Sudden Changes in Behavior
Most elderly residents can’t communicate if something is wrong. However, you will see a sudden change in their behavior. And this change could be a sign of neglect or abuse. So, watch out for:
- Sleep issues like nightmares or disturbed sleep
- Sudden mood swings
- Sudden lack of interest in favorite activities
- Unnecessary fear or anxiety
- Frequent agitation
10. Financial Red Flags
Financial abuse is also equally common. Most nursing home residents have regular monthly expenses. Talk to the bank if you see any large withdrawals from your family member’s checking account. Someone at the nursing home could be taking advantage of their finances. After that, talk to a nursing home abuse attorney. They can help you prevent further financial loss.
Although it sounds unimaginable, people do take advantage of the elderly. Nursing home abuse continues to claim hundreds of victims across the country. These signs could indicate nursing home abuse or neglect. Whatever the case may be, you should act without delay. Talk to a nursing home abuse attorney and help your loved one fight for their rights.
If you think your loved one is getting abused in a nursing home or assisted living facility, we can help. Talk to our experienced lawyers who can help you take necessary legal action. Call (801) 845-4577 or fill out our secure online contact form today.