Approximately two million Americans live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, elderly residents are at risk of being abused and neglected.
Elder abuse consists of intentional and/or negligent conduct from caregivers or nursing homes which result in injury to vulnerable elderly individuals. The signs of elder abuse can be easily identified, and having an understanding of such signs is critical to stopping the problem and recovering compensation through a personal injury claim.
The following are the most common signs of nursing home negligence:
- Malnutrition – Although elders experience a considerable decline in appetite the older they get, nursing home staff are required to ensure that their patients are eating enough to stay healthy and properly hydrated. If you hear complaints from your loved one about being constantly hungry or thirsty, perhaps nursing home neglect might be happening.
- Bedsores – Elders who require assistance moving around require changing in position on their beds, ensuring that they are not lying in the same position for long hours at a time. When nursing home staff ignore this mandatory duty, residents can form painful bruises and welts on their bodies, which are commonly known as bedsores. Since bedsores are relatively preventable, discovering any on your loved one’s body is often an obvious indicator that other forms of mistreatment might be occurring as well.
- Unexplained injuries – Elders who suffer occasional bruises and cuts are often caused by accident, such as stumbling out of bed or bumping into an object. However, if there are wounds that are not or will not be explained by staff members, you may want to check for other signs of potential abuse or negligence.
- Fear or depression – At no matter what age, a healthy person is a happy person. If your loved one is showing signs of constant fear or unusual depression, they could be suffering from either physical abuse or malnourishment.
- Wrongful death – While nursing homes may be the final home of many seniors throughout the nation, that doesn’t mean that their death wasn’t preventable. If your loved one has passed away in a nursing home and you believe it was too sudden or unexpected, perhaps abuse or neglect could play a role.
If you noticed any of these common signs of nursing home abuse, you need to report the issue to a trusted authority member or contact your local Adult Protective Services agency. Additionally, you should retain legal representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer to recover financial compensation for your loved one’s trauma.