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4 Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse You Should Be Aware of

Nursing Home

Well-known nursing homes in the U.S. are grappling with offering abuse-free care to their patients, and this is raising concerns among interested parties. In the first three months of 2024 alone, five facilities already had more than 150 substantiated complaints labeled against them. These worrying statistics may make one wonder how safe patients are in nursing homes and if there are ways to help curb the menace.

With these cases of abuse starting to gain an upward trajectory, it’s important to know what defines abuse in a nursing home so you can seek help early. Below, we share a list of four common ones to keep you informed.

Physical Abuse

Elderly residents in nursing homes often complain of physical abuse when attendants inflict physical harm against them. The most common forms of physical abuse include slapping, hitting, or kicking, which are always done intentionally by the abuser.

In adverse cases, physical abuse can cause serious injuries such as bleeding, sprains, and broken bones. The worst-case scenario is death. You can tell if your loved one is undergoing physical abuse if:

  • They have recurring injuries
  • Nurses give lame explanations of what happened or none whatsoever
  • They are frequently hospitalized

Once you establish your loved one is undergoing any form of physical abuse, you can always file a lawsuit against the facility for a nursing home settlement.

Neglect and Abandonment

For one reason or another, a nurse assigned to serve you or your elderly relative might ignore their responsibilities. They may forfeit providing basic care requirements such as water, food, medication, and personal hygiene care, leading to neglect. When this happens, the common signs you may notice will include the following:

  • Severe weight loss
  • Bedsores
  • Poor hygiene
  • Malnutrition
  • Skin conditions

Neglect can be intentional or unintentional due to staff shortages or other reasons. However, it’s within your right to seek compensation, especially if your or your loved one’s health deteriorates as a result.

Sexual Abuse

Unwanted sexual attention, inappropriate language or touches, and rape are the common forms of sexual abuse exhibited in nursing homes. Caregivers or nurses involved can do this to any patient, and it’s sometimes difficult to detect in cognitively impaired patients. Some of the telltale signs that a patient has been sexually abused are:

  • Anxiety and distress
  • Underwear or clothing stains and tears
  • Difficulty in moving or walking
  • Injuries and bleeding around the genitalia
  • Newly contracted STIs
  • Changes in mood and behavior

Seek medical help as quickly as possible if you notice any of these signs before filing complaints.

Financial Exploitation and Abuse

This mostly occurs when caregivers profile their elderly residents as coming from wealthy backgrounds and devise illegal ways to access their funds. This could take any form, from incorrectly billing the resident to forging documentation with the resident’s signature. The common warning signs of financial abuse are:

  • Sudden mismanagement of personal finances (especially occurring after resident’s admission)
  • Resident claims of being forced to sign financial documents they don’t understand
  • Unaccounted transactions on debit and credit cards

If you find out your loved one is being extorted, start by helping them change their bank account passwords and accesses, then report the matter to senior authorities for help.

Always take swift action if you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse. Delays can be detrimental to their health or well-being, especially in physical and sexual abuse cases. Consider speaking to lawyers and the police for swift help and compensation.

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