What are Some Commonly Overlooked Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

An older woman

Relocating your aging loved one is always a difficult decision. In a perfect world, it would be made easier by being able to be certain that the people caring for your loved one are providing adequate and compassionate care. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a serious problem throughout the United States, and thousands of vulnerable residents suffer physical and emotional injuries every year.

Abuse can be hard to spot. In some cases, your loved one may be too embarrassed to tell you that the abuse is occurring or fear retaliation from the nursing home’s staff. Sometimes, nursing home residents may not even know that any abuse is happening. For this reason, if you have a parent or other loved one in a nursing home, it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with signs of abuse that often go overlooked. 

In the event that you notice any of the signs of abuse discussed below, you should consider calling the agency in your state that regulates nursing homes.

Malnutrition, Dehydration, or Unexplained Weight Loss

As shocking as it may seem, nursing home staff may abuse residents by withholding food or water. If you notice that your loved one is losing weight or seems malnourished or dehydrated, you should report the matter to the nursing home’s administrative staff immediately.

Unexplained Injuries

Nursing home abuse can be overtly physical. If you notice bruises, lacerations, or other unexplained injuries, it’s a good idea to get to the bottom of how they occurred. It’s certainly the case that nursing home residents can suffer injuries in accidents, but they can also be caused by abusive nursing home staff.

Unnecessary Use of Restraints

Sometimes, nursing home residents need to be restrained for their own safety, especially if they are confused or combative. Unfortunately, nursing home staff can also use restraints to abuse or punish residents that they see as non-compliant or difficult. When restraints are used this way, residents can likely take legal action. If you see bruising on the wrists or ankles, you should investigate the matter further. If you suspect that the facility is using restraints unnecessarily, you should contact a lawyer immediately.

Withdrawn or Fearful Behavior

Sometimes, nursing home abuse takes the form of mental or emotional abuse like bullying, belittling, or yelling. When this occurs, victims often exhibit fearful behavior or withdraw from engaging in activities or with visitors. They may seem particularly fearful of one staff member in particular or withdrawn in general. If you notice any changes in your loved one’s behavior that may indicate psychological abuse, it warrants further investigation.

Contact Salam & Associates for a Free Consultation

If you believe that your loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of nursing home staff, you should call a lawyer right away. At Salam & Associates, we’re committed to helping victims of nursing home abuse protect their rights and obtain any compensation they are owed. To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney, call our office today at 866-640-8998 or contact us online at www.salampc.com or [email protected].


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