June is National Elder Abuse Awareness Month. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, this is a good opportunity to educate yourself on the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, and to take action if you suspect something is amiss. The best defense residents of long-term care facilities have is their families. Visit often to play games, eat a meal, or simply talk. Frequent, unannounced visits to your loved one’s home remain one of the most effective ways to get an honest assessment of how residents are treated throughout the day.
Signs of Abuse
Signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Bruises and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Unexplained injury
Not all violence is physical and not all physical violence leaves obvious traces, making it important to understand the emotional signs of abuse as well. These can include the adopting of new behaviors, withdrawal from the nursing home community, and fear around staff members.
Any behavioral changes should prompt curiosity. Sometimes these are normal. Sometimes that are signs of mistreatment.
Signs of Neglect
Signs of nursing home neglect include:
- Soiled bedding or clothing
- Over or under-medication
Generally unsanitary conditions or those impacting a single resident can both result in harm. Neglected residents may struggle with depression and anxiety, and may feel completely isolated and alone.
What Can You Do?
If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring at your loved one’s nursing home, the first step is to talk to management. If the issue is with a rogue employee, this may be all that’s required to resolve the issue. When it’s not, the next step is talking to an attorney.
A nursing home lawyer will be able to assess the situation, provide information on all of your options, and assist you in choosing the best path forward. They can also start working right away to restore dignity to your loved one and to hold those responsible for mistreatment to account.
Without legal representation, you may face the nursing home management team and company lawyers alone. Having experienced legal counsel helps to protect victims from future abuse while allowing families to seek compensation for all related damages.