What Steps Do You Take If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

Elder Law Pell City, AL: Nursing Home Abuse
Elder Law Pell City, AL: Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse isn’t always a case of staff harming a resident. It can be one resident harming another either emotionally or physically. If your mom is in a nursing home, how can you tell if she’s being abused? 
Shame and fear are leading reasons that older adults never speak up. Cognitive impairment is another hurdle that can make it hard for older adults to report cases of abuse. For this reason, you need to pay attention to the common types of nursing home abuse and signs to look for. 
Emotional/Psychological/Verbal Abuse 
Emotional and psychological abuse is the most common type of abuse in nursing homes. Over 33% of the reported cases are psychological. Verbal abuse, threats, insults, isolating a patient from seeing family and friends, and actions that cause fear or anxiety are all examples. 
Signs of emotional abuse include anxiety and depression. Your mom also may seem more withdrawn than usual. 
Physical Abuse 
The second most common type of nursing home abuse is physical abuse. Around 14% of reported cases involve nursing home staff physically abusing a resident. It can be an aide slapping or punching a resident, pushing them down, or other physical acts. 
When you visit, look over your mom’s skin for bruises. If she seems to be in pain, find out why. 
Financial Abuse 
Financial abuse occurs when someone takes a resident’s money and uses it on themselves. It could be an aide is taking money from residents’ wallets or using a resident’s credit card for the aide’s online shopping. Around 14% of nursing home abuse cases are financial abuse. 
Check your mom’s bank accounts regularly. Don’t let your mom have a lot of cash in her purse or wallet. If she needs items, arrange to purchase them for her and then deliver them. 
Neglect accounts for around 12% of all nursing home abuses cases. It occurs when staff does not properly attend to care needs. It’s often unintentional, but that doesn’t mean it won’t cause harm. An example of neglect would be a patient who sits in a messy adult diaper for hours, leading to a skin infection. 
Signs of neglect include things like skin rashes, a dirty, unkempt appearance, and infections. If your mom has a cut on her hand that isn’t cleaned or treated, it can indicate the staff is not doing all they should. 
Sexual Abuse 
Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact that includes sexual harassment, touching, or physical assault. Remember, a resident is unable to give consent due to cognitive impairment. Approximately 2% of nursing home abuse cases count as sexual abuse. 
It may be hard to know if your mom has been the victim of sexual abuse. Frequent UTIs may be an indicator, as is the sudden appearance of anxiety or PTSD. She may also have bruises on her legs or seem to be in pain when she sits down. 
As soon as possible, contact an elder law attorney. You need to make sure your mom is safe and seek advice from a knowledgeable elder law expert in nursing home abuse. Consultations are free, so don’t delay. 

If you or a loved need assistance with Elder Law in Pell City, AL contact Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning today. (205) 390-0101