No one wants to believe that their elderly loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), over half of all nursing home employees surveyed admitted to committing an act of abuse or neglect.
The Northern Virginia Daily reported in June 2022 that the head of an Edinburg facility was found guilty of abusing a patient at that facility.
As unpleasant as the thought may be, nursing home abuse and neglect do happen. Knowing the signs to look for can mean the difference between your loved one receiving the prompt help they need and the abuse or neglect continuing.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
There are a number of signs that may suggest nursing home abuse and neglect are taking place. If you see one or more of these signs, you’ll likely want to investigate the matter further. Legal counsel, law enforcement, and state protective agencies can all help you do this and take steps to protect your loved one.
Unexplained Marks, Bruises, and Injuries
If your loved one develops unexplained marks or injuries, these may indicate abuse or neglect is taking place. You should be especially concerned if these injuries show up on unusual or intimate places on the body. Wounds that do not heal quickly or that continue to reappear may also indicate nursing home abuse and neglect.
Ask for explanations for these injuries. You should be concerned if you receive evasive or defensive answers from facility staff. If your loved one is embarrassed about discussing their injuries with you, or if they provide answers that are generic or nonsensical, it may also indicate that abuse or neglect is taking place.
Changes in Your Loved One’s Demeanor and Attitude
When nursing home abuse and neglect are happening, some victims respond by withdrawing from others. Other victims may become angry or hostile, even with family members. Still others may respond by becoming unusually happy or outgoing as they mentally cope with being a victim of abuse or neglect.
Essentially, any sudden or unusual change in behavior or attitude should be investigated. Aside from nursing home abuse and neglect, such changes in demeanor could be the result of changes in medication or diet. Finding the root cause of these changes and addressing it is essential to caring for your loved one.
Limited Access to Your Loved One
Nearly all nursing home facilities have hours during which visitors are restricted from accessing patients. But if you are being denied visits with your loved one during normal visiting hours, this could indicate nursing home abuse and neglect.
Making a patient unavailable to their loved ones may be a way of severing the patient’s bonds with their family, making it easier to victimize the patient. Additionally, denying the patient access to their loved ones might give the abuser time to cover up injuries or other signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If you believe the nursing home is denying you reasonable access to your loved one, make sure you are visiting during approved visiting hours. Don’t be afraid to speak with management about your concerns.
If the nursing home gives reasons to you for denying visitation that don’t seem reasonable, seek help from a lawyer or other professional.
When to Seek Legal Counsel for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, taking prompt action is key.
The dedicated attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp are here to help. Our firm has over 30 years of experience helping people in Virginia and North Carolina who have been hurt by the careless or deliberate conduct of others.
Contact us right away for a free case evaluation and to discuss your concerns and how to best protect your loved one.