Common Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

nursing-home-abuseThe holidays are a great time to spend with family, which often includes visiting older relatives at nursing homes and similar care facilities. While most such organizations are run well and offer medical care and comfort for those who cannot care for themselves, abuse within such facilities is a tragic reality. As you visit with older loved ones at a nursing home, be sure to keep in mind some of these common signs of abuse, and if you see any of them, contact an experienced lawyer and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Senior Services-Area Agency on Aging for immediate assistance.

In general, most warning signs come down to the mental and physical condition of your family member or loved one within a nursing home. For example, if they seem more disoriented, confused, or excessively sleepy, then there may be some abuse in the form of over-medicating or adverse side effects. General drowsiness may be caused by illness or medication but if such behavior is new and otherwise unexplained, then there may be cause for concern.

Immobility and incontinence can both be warning signs of elderly abuse. Even in nursing homes, daily walking and regular exercise routines are quite common to help ensure bone and muscle strength. If these types of plans are not being followed, due to neglect, then immobility may arise. Similarly, incontinence can occur when a loved one is not provided with necessary and timely care regarding toilet use. Be aware of poor hygiene in terms of your friend or family member’s odor and appearance. Unwashed hair, overgrown nails, and dirty clothes can all indicate a person is not receiving adequate care and bathing.

Unexplained bruises, scratches, and broken bones can also be a serious indicator of severe abuse. While physical assaults are thankfully quite rare, even improper care when moving and administering medication can result in visible injuries. Be sure that any such marks can be adequately and reasonably explained by healthcare administrators and your loved one.

Watch for dehydration and malnutrition, which can manifest as cracked lips, weakness, and sudden weight loss. Certain medical conditions can result in these symptoms, but be wary of such signs that do not have a reasonable explanation. Also closely monitor the emotional condition of your family member. If they seem unusually sullen or quiet, or show anxiety, fear, or guilt, then they may be the victim of mental or emotional abuse, which can be just as devastating as physical abuse.

If you believe a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, immediately contact the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services to report the issue and ensure your family member is properly cared for. Then contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Sexner Injury Lawyers LLC at (312) 243-9922 today to discuss your case and make sure the rights of you and your loved one are protected.