Nursing Home Abuse: What To Watch Out For As A Family Member
Finding out that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home facility can be devastating and make you feel guilty and/or powerless. You can ensure that your loved ones do not become silent victims by paying attention to warning signs and contacting Inkelaar Law when you suspect nursing home abuse.
Categories Of Nursing Home Abuse
Nearly ten percent of nursing home residents are abused each year and they are abused in a variety of ways. Warning signs of nursing home abuse vary, but can include physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.
Signs Of Physical Abuse
Physical symptoms of nursing home abuse may include:
- New unexplained bruises
- Broken bones
- Injuries that are not properly treated
- Lack of food or necessities
- Unkempt appearance
- Lacking access to prescribed medications or treatment regimen
Signs Of Financial Abuse
Symptoms of nursing home abuse in the financial area can include:
- A resident that never has enough money to pay his or her bills
- A resident that does not have access to his or her own funds
- Suspicious authorizations or large cash withdrawals
- Purchasing items and goods that the resident cannot readily use
Signs Of Emotional Abuse
Many nursing home residents who experience abuse in a facility may experience a form of silent abuse that is not readily visible. The symptoms and signs that emotional abuse may be occurring are more subtle. Emotional abuse warning signs include:
- Drastic changes in behavior
- Increased sadness
- Fearful conduct
- Withdrawn or increasing self-isolation
- Fearful conduct with one or more caregivers
Nursing Home Residents Can Be Afraid To Report Abuse
When nursing home residents are being abused by their caretakers, it is possible that they will become too fearful to report instances of abuse. They may feel that no one will believe them or they may fear retaliation if they report the abuse.
In any case, when nursing home residents are too afraid to report that they are being abused, it is vital that family members pay attention to warning signs so that they can act on behalf of their loved ones. Family members who know or suspect that abuse may be occurring should ensure the resident has access to medical care right away.
Once nursing home abuse is suspected, you may:
- Call Nebraska Adult Protective Services 24-hour hotline 1-800-652-1999.
- Contact the nursing home administrator
- Contact the doctors and other medical authorities in charge of the resident’s healthcare
- If it is an emergency, immediately call 911
The most important thing that family members can do is to pay attention and to regularly visit and engage the nursing home resident. Prolonged amounts of time between visits may cause a nursing home resident to become a target for unscrupulous care providers.
Regular visitation and engagement with the nursing home administrators make it easy to see the warning signs of nursing home abuse. This will also demonstrate that there is someone who cares about this resident and who will follow up on any anomalies in their care.
If you have questions about nursing home abuse laws, rights and obligations in Nebraska, contact Inkelaar Law at 1-877-537-4665 or use our case evaluation form to send our office an email.