Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
The signs of nursing home abuse are not always obvious. It’s important that family members pay close attention to the level and type of care their loved ones are receiving from nursing home staff. If anything seems amiss, it’s important to report suspected abuse or neglect right away.
Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, welts, cuts, or burns
- Fall-related injuries, such as broken bones or traumatic brain injuries
- Bedsores, especially those that have reached an advanced stage
- Illnesses and infections, including sepsis and pneumonia
- Signs of malnutrition and/or dehydration
- Excessive dental issues, including poor oral hygiene
- Failing to take medications and other medication issues, such as overdoses
- Signs of physical or chemical (medication-assisted) restraint
- Generally unclean or unsanitary conditions
- Soiled or dirty bedclothes, linens, clothing, etc.
- Changes in mood or behavior, such as increased agitation or anxiety
- Unexplained aggression, anger, crying, or lashing out
- Apparent fear, particularly in the presence of nursing home staff
- Complaints from residents about mistreatment or poor care
- Increased isolation, depression, or signs of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Bruises, scratches, and other injuries on or near the genitals, buttocks, or breasts
- Unusual withdrawals from or changes to bank accounts
- Missing money that cannot be accounted for
- Changes to a will, living will, trust, power of attorney, or healthcare directive
- Changes to a life insurance policy
If you notice any of these signs or other indications of nursing home abuse or neglect, report them right away. You can report suspected abuse to the nursing home administration, local police, or Adult Protective Services.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse refers to any intentional or negligent act that causes harm or distress to an individual residing in a long-term care facility. These facilities are entrusted with the wellbeing and safety of their residents, making it imperative that they uphold high standards of care and respect for each resident's dignity.
Examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Inflicting bodily harm through hitting, slapping, pushing, or restraining residents
- Failing to provide necessary care, such as adequate nutrition, hydration, personal hygiene, and medical attention
- Verbally insulting, humiliating, intimidating, or isolating residents
- Non-consensual sexual contact, assault, or inappropriate behavior toward residents
- Exploitation of a resident's finances or assets through theft, fraud, coercion, or undue influence
These are just some examples of nursing home abuse and neglect. Any deviation from the standard of care widely accepted by nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities could constitute nursing home abuse.
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Bedsores: Indicators of Nursing Home Neglect
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are common signs of nursing home neglect. These painful sores develop when a resident remains in one position for an extended period, leading to reduced blood flow and tissue damage. The presence of bedsores suggests a lack of proper care, including regular repositioning, hygiene, and adequate nutrition.
Left untreated, bedsores can become life-threatening. They may lead to sepsis, a potentially deadly condition in which the body reacts to an infection that spreads throughout the body. Sepsis can result in organ failure, widespread tissue damage, and death without immediate medical attention.
Remember, bedsores are not an inevitable effect of aging or being bed-bound. If you or your loved one has developed bedsores while living in a nursing home or another care facility, you likely have a negligence case against the facility or even a specific staff member. We urge you to reach out to our Hilton Head nursing home abuse attorneys right away to learn more during a completely free consultation. Many bedsore cases result in the payment of high-value damages.
Understaffing & Its Impact on Nursing Home Abuse
Understaffing is a significant contributing factor to instances of nursing home abuse. When facilities are understaffed, caregivers may struggle to attend to the needs of all residents adequately.
This can result in:
- Rushed, improper care
- General neglect
- Inadequate supervision
- An increased risk of falls and other accidents
- More frequent instances of abuse
Nursing homes must have an appropriate staff-to-resident ratio to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all residents.
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The Role of a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you suspect that you or your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, seeking legal representation from a nursing home abuse attorney can be crucial. However, you should keep in mind that not just any lawyer can adequately handle these types of cases.
When it comes to nursing home abuse, you want an attorney with extensive experience in this unique area of law. At Bauer & Metro, P.C., we not only have spent decades representing the rights of seniors and their families throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry but are also intimately familiar with local nursing homes, laws, and regulations.
Our team can:
- Thoroughly investigate your case, drawing on the expertise of medical professionals and expert witnesses to help bolster your claim
- Gather evidence, including medical records and witness testimonies
- Advocate tirelessly for your rights and/or the rights of your elderly loved one
- Pursue compensation for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more
- Work towards holding the responsible parties accountable through legal action
By partnering with our Hilton Head nursing home abuse attorneys, you can ensure that your voice is heard. We are fully prepared to seek justice for any harm you or your loved one has suffered due to negligence or abusive practices within a nursing home or assisted-living facility.