Up to 1 in 6 nursing home residents may be the victims of neglect and abuse. However, only about one in three elder abuse victims will report the mistreatment. Identifying elder abuse can be difficult. Many of the warning signs are also signs of the physical and mental deterioration, an everyday part of aging. Recognizing and reporting the signs of nursing home abuse keeps our loved ones safer. You may even find yourself in need of a nursing home abuse lawyer at some point.
An abusive caregiver is not likely to be physically violent with your loved one in your presence. However, physical abuse might be happening if you notice:
- unexplained bruising, especially in areas that indicate restraint (such as wrists, arms, legs, and ankles)
- broken bones or other unexplained injuries
- sudden onset of pain or physical/mental deterioration
- the appearance of being over- or under- medicated
Neglect is the most common form of abuse seen in nursing homes. Although it can occur intentionally, neglect is typically the result of understaffed and overworked employees. The warning signs of nursing home neglect include:
- falls and other injuries
- bed sores
- dirty clothes, bedding, or living area
- dehydration or malnutrition
- unexplained weight loss
- poor hygiene
This is one of the most common types of elder abuse. Financial abuse is the exploitation of an individual’s finances for the abuser’s personal gain. Your loved one could be a victim of financial abuse if you notice suspicious charges to bank accounts or credit cards, missing cash or checks, or unpaid bills. Staff may trick or coerce a patient into making changes to her will. Nursing home residents are also susceptible to identity theft.
Sexual abuse occurs more often in nursing homes that you might think. Any unwanted sexual contact or exposure is sexual abuse. This includes touching, undressing, flashing, or forcing an individual to witness sexual acts or video. The signs can be difficult to detect in cases where the victim cannot report it. But they may include torn or stained undergarments, bruised genital areas, or symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease.
What to Do About Suspected Nursing Home and Elder Abuse
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, first report your complaint to the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Long Term Care. Then, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. The nursing home may owe compensation for the physical, economic, and emotional damage you have suffered.
Tittle & Perlmuter have extensive experience as personal injury attorneys. We offer a complimentary initial consultation to anyone concerned about a loved one’s medical negligence or mistreatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Cleveland, Lakewood, and Elyria locations.