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How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Colburn Law

There are more than three million American adults living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and roughly 40% of all Americans will enter a nursing home at some point in their lives. As the average life expectancy in the U.S. continues to increase, this will invariably lead to higher numbers of elderly people entering nursing homes. Although the vast majority of nursing homes provide acceptable, compassionate care, nursing home abuse is an unfortunate reality.

Know the Warning Signs

These statistics may be startling, but many American families have no choice but to depend on nursing homes for elder care. Bear in mind that most of the nursing home and assisted living facilities in the U.S. are professional operations dedicated to positive patient experiences, but it is still vital to know how to recognize the signs of elder abuse. Some of the telltale red flags include:

  • Sudden changes in your loved one’s personality. If he or she seems withdrawn, reluctant to talk, depressed, or irritable, it could be due to stress or intimidation from his or her abuser.
  • Marked decline in health. Nursing homes are equipped with better medical technology than most private residences, so residents should receive acceptable care. If your loved one’s health declines after entering a nursing home, it could be a sign of abuse or neglect.
  • Inexplicable bruises, cuts, or other wounds.
  • Strange financial activity. If you have access to your elderly loved one’s accounts, make it a habit to check them for any unusual spending. Some nursing home staff members may steal residents’ checkbooks, credit cards, or other personal information to commit fraud.
  • Poor living conditions. If your loved one’s room, clothes, or bedding appear dirty or soiled, this could indicate that staff is not providing adequate care. If you suspect poor living conditions, take time to ask other residents about their experiences at the nursing home or things they’d like to see changed.

Elder abuse is heinous and requires immediate action. If you spot any signs of personal injury due to nursing home abuse, remove your loved one from the dangerous situation and reach out to an attorney for guidance concerning next steps. The right attorney can help secure compensation for a nursing home abuse victim and help ensure that he or she enters a more acceptable facility. For more information, speak to a Seattle personal injury lawyer.