According to some statistics, about 2 million elder abuse cases are reported annually and 1 in 10 elders will experience some form of abuse. A growing number of people enrolling in nursing institutions mean a steady rise in the cases of nursing home neglect and abuse. A recent study by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) revealed that 10% of elderly residents in nursing facilities had been abuse victims in the previous year. But according to one government audit, more than 1 in 4 cases of possible physical and sexual abuse against patients go unreported.s
There are too many instances where nursing home patients are mistreated, whether that’s through psychological, physical, financial and/or sexual abuse or neglect. But sadly, the limited knowledge and lack of awareness of the law and individual rights creates a situation where the elders and their loved ones don’t seek or get the justice they deserve. Yet everyone, including patients, is entitled to safety, and to pursue justice whenever their rights have been violated.
But as they say, information is power; here are some warning signs of a nursing home neglect and abuse. Contact a Cleveland nursing home abuse law firm as soon as you realize any of these signs, so you can get the legal help that you deserve.
But first, what are warning signs?
These can vary from one individual to the next and from a situation to another. Since these kinds of injury and abuse are so broad, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the warning signs may not be typical, or what you thought it would be in a particular circumstance. Both the National Institute on Aging and Administration on Aging recommend watching for these signs that may show an occurrence of abuse or injury:
Signs of emotional abuse
- Withdrawal from social activities
- A sudden change of behavior
- Presence of a caregiver who is uncaring, demeaning, or verbally aggressive
- Isolation foist by the caregiver
Signs of physical abuse
- Sudden physical conditions or injuries that can’t be adequately explained, like burns, bruises, sprained joints, broken bones, fractured bones, etc.
- Diagnosis of STIs with no adequate explanation
Signs of sexual abuse
- Presence of unexplained STI
- Trauma like swelling or bruising around the genitals
Signs of neglect
- Lack of food
- Indications that the patient hasn’t received any medication
- Evidence that the patient’s hygiene is worsening
- Soiled beddings or clothing
- Unexpectedly dirty living environment
- Presence of ulcers or bedsores
- Lack of necessities in the living space, including electricity, water, heat
Signs of financial exploitation
- Inability to pay bills, or unsettled monthly bills
- Issuing excessive gifts
- The failure of the patient to explain his or her financial transactions
- Giving the caregiver control of finances
What to do
If you have reasons to believe that your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect, your first step should be to call your local law enforcement authority. You may also want to call a lawyer as they have the experience of how to go about the process.