Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

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The elderly and those unable to care for themselves should be safe in nursing homes. Unfortunately, there are times when nursing home residents suffer from various types of abuse. Any abuse of these vulnerable populations is abhorrent, and victims may be able to recover compensation. Information from the National Council on Aging indicates that approximately one out of every ten Americans aged 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse. This can include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, as well as confinement and neglect.

Here, we want to examine some of the physical and non-physical signs of nursing home abuse. 

Examining Abuse Signs in Nursing Homes

When working to understand the signs of abuse, we have to break the abuse down into categories:

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is often the easiest type of nursing home abuse to spot, but we say that with caution because the signs and symptoms of physical abuse often mimic natural bruises and markings that occur due to natural accidents. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of nursing home physical abuse include:

  • Unexplained sprains, dislocations, or fractures
  • Welts, bruising, or scars on the body
  • Signs of restraint usage, including around the wrists and ankles
  • Broken eyeglasses 
  • Caregivers refusing to allow family or friends to be alone with the resident

Emotional abuse

The signs and symptoms of emotional abuse often accompany other types of abuse in a nursing home, but they can also occur independently of any type of physical abuse. Some of the most common signs of emotional abuse in a nursing home include:

  • Unusual or rapid changes in behavior
  • Behavior that could resemble dementia, including mumbling, rocking, and sucking on thumbs
  • The resident becoming unusually withdrawn or acting afraid around certain caregivers

Sexual abuse

The signs of sexual abuse often mimic the signs associated with physical abuse and emotional abuse. Additionally, these can include:

  • Unexplained genital infections or STIs
  • Bruising near the genitals, buttocks, or breasts
  • Bloody, stained, or torn underwear
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding

Signs of neglect

Neglect can occur when nursing home staff fails to adequately address the needs of the resident. The signs of neglect can include:

  • Leaving a resident unattended for long periods of time
  • Unsafe living conditions, including issues with climate control
  • Considerably dressing the resident for the weather
  • Failing to adequately bathe the resident
  • Soiled bedding or clothes
  • Rooms that have not been cleaned
  • The presence of bed sores
  • Unexplained dehydration or weight loss

Financial exploitation

Financial exploitation will not have the signs and symptoms one would expect from other types of abuse mentioned here. This type of abuse involves obtaining access to a resident’s assets and finances. Some of the signs of financial abuse include:

  • Unexplained changes to a resident’s bank account
  • Changes in life insurance policies, power of attorney, or wills
  • Cash or other items missing from a resident’s room
  • Additional users getting added to credit cards
  • ATM withdrawals when a resident is bedridden
  • Lack of medical care despite having the finances to afford it 

Any person who believes that their loved one has been abused in a nursing home should reach out to a skilled nursing home abuse attorney in Long Beach as soon as possible. An attorney can examine the facts of the case and help victims gain their voice when standing up to their abuser.