How to recognize signs of nursing home abuse



When family members make the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, many questions come to mind: Is this the right home for my loved one? Will he or she be safe? How do I know if my loved one is being treated well?

These are all valid concerns, especially considering that abuse and neglect occur at many nursing homes.

Friends and family members should be aware of possible signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Physical changes: Concerned family members should be aware of subtle changes in their loved one’s appearance. Sudden weight loss, dehydration, or unexplained bruising or sores may be signs that something is wrong.
  • Emotional changes: Suddenly becoming fearful of a certain nursing home staff member, becoming depressed or anxious, refusing to eat or take medications or other changes in mental state may indicate some form of abuse.
  • Understaffing: Many nursing homes are understaffed. When there are not enough employees, residents may not get the quality of care they need. Be aware of signs of understaffing: Constantly ringing phones, long wait times to answer call lights, malnutrition or dehydration in residents, and bed sores.

Many victims cannot communicate easily. Many are confined to wheelchairs. Most are unable to do anything about the abuse or neglect they are experiencing.

Concerned friends and family members should make every effort to ensure that their loved one is safe. This may mean having to move a resident to another facility. It is also advisable to speak to an attorney about legal options. Victims may be eligible for compensation.


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