Approximately 1.5 million of our elderly citizens live in
nursing homes, and this number is on the rise. During
their 'golden years,' our parents and grandparents should
be cared for with kindness, tenderness and respect.
But tragically, nursing home abuse is one of our country's
most serious and prevailing problems.
There are different forms of nursing home abuse, the most
prevalent being negligence. A study conducted by the
U.S. General Accounting Office revealed that more than half
of the questionable nursing home deaths studied were most
likely due to neglect, including malnutrition and dehydration.
When a nursing home facility fails to provide the proper care
dictated by law, negligence has occurred. Signs of negligence
include deprivation of food and water, failure to assist in
personal hygiene, failure to provide medical care, failure
to prevent malnutrition and failure to protect from health
and safety hazards.
Physical abuse is more overt in nature. Common signs
include battery, sexual assault, rape, unreasonable physical
constraint, and administration of chemicals not prescribed
by a physician.
But nursing home abuse isn't limited to neglect or physical
actions. Psychological abuse can seriously damage a
resident's emotional well-being. Insults, humiliation,
threats, agitation or forced room confinement are characteristics
of psychological abuse.
Financial or material exploitation is also considered nursing
home abuse. This is characterized by the illegal or
improper use of a resident's property or assets.
Even if you are satisfied with your loved one's current nursing
home, remember that staff members or conditions within the
home may change. Therefore, you should always be on
the lookout for any warning signs of abuse, including the
- Resident seems heavily medicated or sedated
- Unexplained burns, cuts, fractures, bruises or other
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
- Frequent genital infections
- Sudden changes in behavior such as withdrawal, sucking,
biting, rocking, agitation, depression, etc.
- Delays or refusals in allowing visitors to see resident
- Visitors not allowed alone with resident
- Loss of resident's possessions
- Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts
- Unexpected change in will or other financial document
- Resident has experienced sudden weight loss or weight
- Resident died unexpectedly or without apparent cause
- Resident is frequently ill, and symptoms are not immediately
reported to the doctor and family
Remember, nursing home abuse is in blatant violation of the
law. Don't stand for it! If someone you care about
has been abused or neglected, a cash award may be obtainable. Fill
out our questionnaire
to obtain a free consultation and find out what your case is worth.
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