Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: November 9th, 2016 |

Too many elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes fall victim to abuse. Research has put the percentage of abused nursing home residents at higher than one in three, and rates of neglect due to under staffing, inadequate training, and insufficient supervision are widely acknowledged to be even higher. Making this unacceptable reality doubly tragic is that much of the nursing home abuse and neglect that occurs in Ohio and across the United States goes unrecognized.


What to Watch For

Spotting the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect stands as the essential first step to ending the suffering and holding abusive and negligent staff members and facilities accountable. Residents who suffer abuse and neglect often fail to speak up for themselves because they fear worse treatment if they raise complaints. Large numbers of victims also have physical and intellectual disabilities that leave them unable to assert their rights to kind and attentive care.

Family members, friends, and other caregivers, then, have a great duty to watch for, report, and take action against nursing home abuse and neglect. As summarized elsewhere on this Jones Law Group website and in fact sheets prepared by the federally supported National Center on Elder Abuse, anyone who cares about the comfort and well-being of a nursing home resident should be on the lookout for the following:

  • Poor and deteriorating hygiene
  • Lack of regular meals
  • Torn and unwashed clothes
  • “Lost” or denied glasses, dentures, medication doses, or mobility aids like a walkers or a wheelchair
  • Being left unsupervised despite suffering from dementia
  • Constant sedation for unspecified reasons
  • Being restrained in bed for long periods despite not being identified as a risk to oneself or others
  • Untreated pressure ulcers, which most people call bed sores
  • Unexplained and/or sudden changes in behavior
  • Excessive fearfulness
  • Withdrawal from normal activities
  • Sudden drop in alertness
  • Unaccustomed verbal or physical aggression
  • Bruises and other injuries
  • Newly diagnosed sexually transmitted disease
  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts and retirement funds
  • Unannounced changes to the will and power of attorney

What to Do When You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

Consulting with an empathetic Columbus nursing home abuse attorney will help you understand how to document suspected mistreatment or neglect. Steps can include taking pictures, speaking with the person who appears to be in danger, checking patient records, and interviewing other residents and staff members who are not directly involved in caring for the person who may be getting victimized.

Official reports of nursing home neglect should be filed with the Ohio attorney general’s office. Contacting Medicare or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can also make sense if the suspected victim is receiving federal long-term health benefits. Calling the police and removing a person from imminent danger is appropriate in emergency situations.

Once a victim is safe, it is time to seek compensation and, possibly, punitive damages from the people and organizations who harmed the nursing home resident. Such lawsuits are generally brought in the name of a family member, but anyone with legal authority to act on the victim’s behalf can serve as the plaintiff. Again, consulting with a knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer will clarify the options for legal remedies.

The Columbus-based legal team with the Jones Law Group fights for nursing home residents and their families. To schedule an appointment with an attorney, call (614) 545-9998 or complete this online contact form.

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