If you and your family have a loved one in a nursing home, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. While most nursing homes provide stellar care to their residents, nursing home abuse remains an all-too-common occurrence.
What Are Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse is typically defined as an intentional infliction of physical injury, or the use of confinement, intimidation, deprivation of care or privileges or the threat of deprivation, which results in pain, physical harm, or emotional or mental distress or anguish.
Neglect in the nursing home arises from a failure, whether intentional or negligent, to provide a dependent person with the care or services needed to prevent that person from suffering harm or pain, or the failure to react to a potential situation that could result in physical or emotional injury.
What Constitutes Abuse or Neglect?
Abuse and neglect can be inflicted in many different ways, including:
- Physical assault, including slapping, beating, kicking, pushing, dragging, or shaking.
- Sexual assault
- Deprivation of food, water, or medical care
- Denial of activities
- Physical restraint or seclusion
- Use of medications for the purposes of restraint or punishment
- Threatening physical harm
- Yelling, cursing, or belittling
Signs and Symptoms That a Nursing Home Resident Has Been the Victim of Abuse or Neglect?
Signs that a nursing home resident has suffered or is suffering from abuse or neglect include:
- Bedsores/pressure ulcers
- Restraint marks or injuries
- Rapid, unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Poor personal hygiene
- Unexplained injuries, especially cuts, bruising, head injuries, or bone fractures
- Multiple injuries in various stages of healing
- Frequent infections
- New, unexplained sexually-transmitted infections
- Unusual and sudden changes in behavior, including soothing behaviors such as sucking, rocking, or mumbling, or other behaviors like biting or fear of being touched
- Extreme emotional states, such as agitation or withdrawal
- Loss of interest in activities
- Incidents of wandering or elopement
- Wanting to be left alone or isolated from others
- Fear of speaking in the presence of nursing home staff members
- Fear of being left alone or left with certain staff members
Other signs that a nursing home resident has been victimized by abuse or neglect include:
- Trips to the emergency room or hospital for injuries
- Any incident resulting in head injuries or broken bones, especially fractured hips
- Frequent illnesses or infections, especially when they are not reported to the resident’s physician or family
- Frequent heavy medication or sedation
What to Do If a Loved One May Have Suffered from Nursing Home Abuse
If you think your family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you can take steps to help protect their physical safety and legal rights by:
- If you believe your family member is in immediate danger of harm, you can always contact law enforcement to intervene to protect your family member.
- Notify the nursing home administrators of your concerns about abuse or neglect. Many cases of nursing home abuse or neglect are committed by individual staff members, which the nursing home administrator can take steps to remedy.
- If the nursing home operators are unwilling or unable to take steps to remedy concerns of abuse or neglect, you may want to remove your family member from that facility.
- You can also report your concerns to the state department of health.
Finally, consider speaking to a nursing home abuse lawyer about your legal rights and options for protecting your loved one and for seeking financial compensation and accountability for the physical and emotional harm they may have suffered from abuse or neglect.
Contact a Haddonfield Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
Seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Additionally, nursing home staff needs to ensure that patients are safe and secure at all times. If your loved one suffered an injury, or worse, due to nursing home negligence or abuse in New Jersey, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at The Law Offices of Andres & Berger, P.C. represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Marlton, Voorhees and Mt. Laurel. Call (856) 795-1444 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We have an office conveniently located at 264 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.