Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Injury or Abuse: What Can Be Done?

Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Injury or Abuse: What Can Be Done?

Care Worker Mistreating Senior WomanEverybody is always using a recognizable phrase: Respect your elders. Unfortunately, it is a known fact that, each year, more and more elderly people are falling victim to abuse in nursing home settings. More than 1.5 million people are currently residing in nursing homes; however, with this growing population comes the risk of neglect taking place. The abuse is actually somewhat common, with 10% of all nursing home residents suffering some form of abuse in the previous year. The sad fact of the matter, though, is that not all abuse incidents are reported. No, some fall under the radar and this is very unfortunate for many elderly people. Now you can find out about some of the different types of busing home injury and abuse, and how to recognize the signs of them.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical Abuse: This is a non-accidental use of force against an elderly person. It typically results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. This can involve physical assaults but also cover the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
  • Emotional Abuse: This is also sometimes referred to as psychological abuse. People speak to or treat elderly people in a way that can cause emotional pain or distress. This can include intimidation through yelling or threats, humiliation, ignoring the person, or isolating them from their friends or activities.
  • Sexual Abuse: This is contact with an elderly person without the elder’s consent, which can involve physical sex acts, showing an elderly person pornographic material, forcing them to watch sex acts, or forcing them to undress.
  • Neglect or Abandonment: Elder neglect can be intentional or unintentional, but emotionally scarring either way. This is based on factors like ignorance or denial that an elderly person needs as much care as they receive.
  • Financial Exploitation: This involves unauthorized usage of the person’s funds or property. This might include misusing an elderly person’s personal checks or credit cards, forging the person’s signature, stealing their cash, investment fraud, or phony charities.
  • Healthcare Fraud: This type of abuse is carried out by unethical doctors or other professional care providers. This includes not providing healthcare but charging for it, overcharging, recommending fraudulent remedies for illness, or even Medicaid fraud.

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Physical Abuse: The warning signs include injuries or physical conditions that cannot be explained such as fractured bones, broken bones, bruises or burns, or the diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases.
Emotional Abuse: The signs include a sudden change from normal behavior, withdrawal from social activity, isolation from friends or family, or the presence of a caregiver who is verbally aggressive.
Sexual Abuse: This includes the appearance of unexplained STDs, and trauma that includes bruising or swelling around the genital area.
Neglect or Abandonment: This includes evidence that the resident’s medication is not being administered, signs of deteriorating hygiene, lack of food, dirty living place, or an appearance of bedsores or ulcers.
Financial Exploitation: This can include unpaid monthly bills, giving excessive and unexpected gifts, or an inability by the resident to explain financial transactions.
Healthcare Fraud: This can include excessive diagnostic testing, unnecessary medical treatment or equipment, or billing to insurers or medical providers for healthcare that wasn’t provided to them.

If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from abuse at the hands of a nursing home or other care center, you may want to consider calling 911 or a local law enforcement authority to give them a heads up on what is happening. Adult Protective Services may also come into play. You can contact a lawyer who will be on your side throughout the process and allow you to explain your situation. They can assist you in reporting the abuse to the appropriate state agency. Contact WTW today to get a review of your case.

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