Elderly residents in nursing homes are some of our society’s most vulnerable people. Unfortunately, all too often nursing home residents are mistreated and/or abused for a variety of reasons to include disciplinary actions, lack of appropriate oversight or training, understaffed nursing homes, etc. In many cases, residents are not able to advocate for themselves. They rely on the nursing home staff and/or family members to make decisions and determinations that are in their best interest. Nursing home abuse attorney Robert J. Rooth recommends that anyone with a loved one in the care of a nursing home keep a vigilant eye out for signs of abuse or neglect within a nursing home. If you suspect that there is something amiss, take immediate action. Your loved one is counting on you. Learn more about how to spot trouble in a nursing home below.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
You may be surprised to learn that nursing home abuse is quite common. Though it does not happen everywhere, it happens often enough to be a cause of concern for any person with a family member in a nursing home. Listed below are some pertinent facts related to nursing home abuse.
- It has been reported that nearly 25% of residents within a nursing home experience physical abuse.
- Only one out of every 25 cases of elder abuse within a nursing home are formally reported.
- 90% of nursing homes are understaffed and cannot provide adequate care.
- Two out of three elderly abuse victims are women
- More than 35% of nursing home residents admitted to witnessing one or more incidents of physical abuse against another resident.
Common Warning Signs
Learning how to spot trouble in a nursing home can help to prevent abuse and/or end abusive practices that are currently being levied against elderly residents. Common warning signs to look for include the following:
- Sudden physical and/or emotional changes exhibited by your loved one
- Clear signs of physical abuse (bruising, lacerations, broken bones, etc.)
- Increased instances of incontinence and/or bed wetting
- Inability to contact the nursing home or your loved ones
- Lack of clean facilities
- Loved ones that are malnourished and/or dehydrated
- The declining ability of your loved one to be mobile since they have moved into the home
- Increased number of falls (that are not normal for your loved one)
- Noticeable confusion that cannot be attributed to a diagnosed disease
- Bedsores developing due to a lack of frequent rotation
What To Do If You Suspect Neglect
It is important to not rush to judgment. However, pay close attention to the aforementioned signs. In some cases, residents refuse care or are suffering emotionally due to the move into a nursing home. It is important to be able to separate the differences between your loved one being unhappy and them being neglected. If the changes that you have noticed become frequent or do not subside within a reasonable amount of time, it is recommended that you have an in-depth conversation with the staff as well as your loved one. If members of the staff do not offer clear explanations as well as case notes to back up their claims, it may be a sign of trouble. Furthermore, if your loved one is exhibiting clear signs of abuse, do not wait to move them out of that situation. There are many laws and regulations in place to protect the residents within nursing homes. If you are sure that abuse and/or neglect has occurred, contact a reputable nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your case.