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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Colburn Law

Nursing homes are meant to be places where elderly individuals receive the care and support they need in their later years. However, instances of abuse and neglect in nursing homes do occur more frequently than we may believe

If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, it is important to be vigilant and keep an eye out for signs of abuse and neglect. By recognizing these signs, you can help your loved one escape a potentially dangerous situation and get the help that he or she deserves.

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect refers to the failure to provide basic care and necessities to residents, such as food, water, clean clothing, or medication. Some common signs of neglect include:

  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Untreated medical conditions despite having access to care
  • Unsanitary living conditions, such as soiled bedsheets and dirty clothing
  • Bedsores, which develop when a person is not moved from one location for a long period

The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves the intentional infliction of physical harm on nursing home residents. Hitting, pushing, slapping, or kicking are common acts that constitute physical abuse. Look out for the following signs:

  • Unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, fractures, or burns
  • Frequent falls or unexplained accidents
  • Broken eyeglasses or other personal items
  • Restraints on a resident’s body without a valid medical reason
  • Signs of trauma, such as flinching or cowering

2. Emotional or Verbal Abuse

Emotional or verbal abuse can cause significant psychological distress to nursing home residents. This type of mistreatment can involve yelling at, berating, or intentionally inflicting emotional harm on a resident. 

Emotional abuse can be difficult to spot, but can lead to the following:

  • Sudden changes in behavior or mood
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Unexplained fear or agitation
  • Emotional distress or anxiety

3. Financial Abuse

Financial exploitation is one of the most common types of abuse that occurs in nursing homes. This act involves the unauthorized or improper use of a resident’s funds or assets. If you notice any of the following signs, financial abuse may be occurring:

  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Unauthorized use of credit cards or financial documents
  • Missing assets or personal possessions from a resident’s room
  • Sudden changes in financial documents or beneficiaries
  • A caregiver showing undue interest in a resident’s financial affairs

4. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a deeply disturbing form of mistreatment that can have profound emotional and physical consequences. Sadly, many nursing home residents are abused by people entrusted with their care. 

If you notice any of the following signs, they may indicate sexual abuse:

  • Unexplained sexually transmitted infections
  • Bruises or injuries around the genital area
  • Torn or bloody undergarments
  • Sudden changes in behavior related to sexuality
What To Do If You Suspect Abuse At a Nursing Home

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse at a Nursing Home

If you suspect abuse or neglect in a Washington nursing home, there are several crucial steps you should take. First, document any evidence of mistreatment that you observe. Next, report the abuse to the nursing home administration and Adult Protective Services (APS). Call 911 if your loved one is in danger or needs medical care.

Then, consult with a Seattle nursing home abuse lawyer to understand your legal rights and protect your loved one’s well-being. Your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the facility and recover compensation to pay for your loved one’s medical care, pain and suffering, and other damages.