The thought of someone abusing your aging loved one in the very place that is supposed to take care of him or her is unconscionable. Unfortunately, it is more common than we would want to believe. Even with extreme scrutiny when choosing a nursing home for your family member, there is still a chance that they may become the victim of abuse.
There are many kinds of elder abuse that can happen within a nursing home. There is physical, sexual, and verbal abuse along with financial exploitation and neglect. Beyond visiting and being involved in their care as much as possible, there are signs to watch for that can alert you to abuse. Here are five indicators that there may be some type of abuse happening.
- Physical abuse. This can involve not only striking or pushing a patient, but also includes restraining or drugging a patient inappropriately. Signs this may be happening to your loved one are bruises, scars or welts on their body. Watch for medication mishaps that seem unusual. Broken bones and other injuries can be a red flag as well.
- Sexual abuse. As abhorrent as this is to even think about, it can and does occur. Sexual abuse is any sexual contact or act that the person does not consent to, including showing them sexual material or making them watch sexual acts. Signs can include bruises, diseases or infections of the genital region. There may be changes to your loved ones personality that can be sign that something is wrong.
- Financial manipulation. This form of abuse can be a caregiver getting a hold of credit cards, checks or personal information to steal their identity. If there are strange charges to credit cards or withdrawals from bank accounts, they are signs that someone may access to their accounts. Pulling a credit report can also check to see if any new accounts have been opened in their name.
- Neglect. This is the most common type of abuse, whether intentional or just from lack of staffing or ignorance. Signs that your loved one’s needs are not being taken care of include weight loss, bedsores, dirty linens, no access to water and any general unsanitary conditions.
- Emotional or verbal abuse. Yelling, name-calling, or threatening a patient is all verbal abuse. It can be humiliating or terrorizing them as well. Signs that your loved one is being submitted to this type of abuse is when caregivers will not leave you alone with them, you see any behavior changes in them, even ones that may seem child-like: rocking back and forth, sucking and other self-comforting behaviors.
These types of abuse can happen in any facility although some much more than others. Keeping an eye out for early signs gives you a chance to protect your loved one from any more abuse from happening. Report the abuse right away to local and state authorities.
Information on Nursing Home Abuse: