“I suspect my grandmother may be getting abused at her nursing home. What are common signs of abuse I can look for in confirming this situation?” — Sherri, Atlanta, Georgia
Physical, mental and sexual abuse are forms of abuse encountered by nursing home residents across the country. Sadly, some of the most commonly abused nursing home residents include those who are physically or mentally disabled and have no way of fighting off a perpetrator.
Remember, you know your loved one better than anyone else. If you suspect mistreatment or abuse immediately report the situation to local police and/or ombudsmen. The reality is that most episodes of elder abuse go unreported.
The following situations warrant further investigation:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures
- Bed sores
- Frozen joints
- Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections, vaginal or anal bleeding
- Bloody clothing
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
- Staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitor
- Resident being kept in an over-medicated state
- Loss of resident’s possessions
- Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices
- Sudden loss of appetite
Depending on the severity of the findings, you may wish to report the situation to the local department of health, police or pursue the matter against the facility civilly. In our nursing home litigation practice, many civil lawsuits come about after an investigation by the state authorities. Many times, the evidence secured by state authorities proves especially valuable because it was secured immediately after the incident was noted.
Nursing Home Injury Laws: Georgia