A Growing Problem

Nursing home abuse is a growing problem, as many elderly residents fail to report these incidents because they are ashamed or feel intimated. Nursing home injury cases caused by nursing home negligence is a growing problem in the United States. Federal government studies reveal that at least 30 percent of the nursing homes across the country have committed some form of negligence or malice that has resulted in personal injury to elderly patients.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures in different stages of healing
  • Abrupt behavioral changes
  • Staff who do not allow you to be alone with your loved one
  • Bedsores
  • Mysterious venereal disease or genital infections
  • Residents who are kept constantly over-medicated
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding and stained or bloody undergarments
  • Staff who refuses to allow visitors or delays visitation

There are four common primary forms of nursing home abuse:
 

Physical Abuse


Physical abuse is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment.
Physical abuse can range from beating, pushing, shoving to inappropriate distribution of controlled substances and force feeding.


Emotional/ Psychological Abuse


Emotional abuse can encompass verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, public embarrassment, and harassment.


This type of social abuse can cause the elderly patient to exclude oneself from daily activities, be hesitant to speak up, among other long lasting traumatic effects.


Financial Exploitation


This type of abuse refers to taking advantage of the elderly patients possessions. It is defined as improper use or distribution of the patient's funds, property, or assets.


Some forms of financial exploitation include, but are not limited to; forging a signature, convincing the elder to sign a document in a deceiving manner (i.e. contracts or a will).


Basic / Personal Hygiene Needs


The nursing home should always provide sufficient food, water, and a safe clean environment.


If a nursing home fails to provide adequate time to maintaining the nursing home impeccable, fulfilling dietary necessities properly it can put an elderly patient at serious risk of capturing an infection, and not having a strong immune system to combat an illness.

The first thing that you should look for when visiting nursing homes is at the staffing levels. It is critical that a nursing home is well staffed. This being because a vast majority of problems that can occur in a nursing home setting, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and even malnourishment occur almost uniformly because of understaffing. However, if there are a sufficient number of caregivers, it becomes difficult for one to ignore or abuse abuse a resident- because others are around and actively monitoring the residents.

 


 
Another thing to be mindful when visiting a nursing home is how the staff members interact with patients. Pay close attention to how the staff speaks to and handles the patients. Are they using their names? Do the staff members seem to know the patients or, given high turnover, are they strangers? The more close interaction you are able to observe, the better sense you’ll have for what type of facility the nursing home is and whether it is one you can entrust with the care of your elderly loved one.