January 24, 2022

Six types of elder abuse and neglect in Nursing Homes

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When you hear the word “abuse,” you tend to only think of physical injuries, but it’s much more complex than that. The reason elders are put into nursing homes is to receive the care and support they need that their loved ones can’t necessarily offer them. That means that the family puts their trust in nursing home professionals to take care of their loved ones.

When this trust is breached, you can sue a nursing home for abuse, and if they are liable, you are entitled to compensation. The following are some examples of abuse that take place in a negligent nursing home.

Abuse and Neglect of Elders in Nursing Homes

1. Physical Abuse

This occurs when staff members cause intentional harm to residents (e.g., through shoving, hitting, or kicking). A tell-tale sign of physical abuse is unexplained injuries on the victim’s body, such as burns, broken bones, or bruises. Some staff members wrongfully use violence to assert dominance or punish misconduct.

2. Emotional Abuse

Because there are no physical scars, it might take a while before you realize that your loved one is going through emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is caused by taunting, insults, or screaming by staff members. Signs of emotional abuse include jumpiness, anxiety, depression, fear of interaction with staff members, withdrawal from family members, and rapid changes in mood and personality.

3. Sexual Abuse

Some staff members might abuse their power by sexually victimizing the residents. Signs of sexual abuse include unexplained sexually transmitted infections (STIs), bruising, pain and bleeding from the genitals, and depression.

Most sexual abuse cases go unreported because most victims don’t remember or are drugged and are unaware of what is happening to them. There were news reports of nursing home facilities receiving citations because of mismanaged sexual allegations in nursing homes across the country.

4. Financial Abuse

Because of their compromised mental state, some elders are at risk of financial exploitation from malicious staff members or even the nursing home managers. Signs that someone is stealing from your loved one include depletion of assets, weird financial transactions, missing valuable personal effects, changes in one’s lifestyle vis a vis their assets, and sudden changes in living arrangements.

5. Nursing Home Neglect

There are many reasons that a nursing home could neglect its residents, such as understaffing, lack of funds due to mismanagement, untrained personnel, and so on. However, there are no excuses to justify not providing basic needs and care to vulnerable elders under nursing home care. Signs of neglect include filthy living conditions, bedsores, constant infections, and malnutrition.

Leaving the residents unattended for long periods can put them at risk because they are not taking their drugs on time and can feel abandoned because they can’t move freely by themselves. Prolonged neglect can lead to a rise in the mortality rate in nursing homes.

6. Self-Neglect

This happens when the resident refuses care from the nursing home staff. This, however, may not be a straightforward reason hence the need to investigate and determine why they don’t want care anymore. It could be because they are being abused in any of the forms discussed above, and they don’t see any other way out.

Why You Should Visit Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

Some people are comfortable thinking that their loved one is safe and is receiving top-notch care at a nursing home, which sadly isn’t always true. Therefore, frequent visits can help you see the premises and determine if it’s still fit to keep your loved one there. Talking to your loved ones also helps you know if they are doing okay. 

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