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The Warning Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

According to a study reported by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), as many as one in 10 seniors will experience some form of neglect or abuse during his or lifetime. Sadly, many of these cases of neglect and abuse occur in nursing homes, where the very people we trust to provide compassionate care to our loved ones are the ones who cause them harm. Review these warning signs of negligent or abusive treatment and seek help as soon as possible.

1. Evasiveness from Nursing Home Administrators and Caregivers

If your loved one is receiving proper care, it should not be difficult to obtain information about his or her eating patterns, medication intake, mobility and general state of wellbeing. On the other hand, if a nursing home is to blame for causing your loved one harm, you may find that administrative staff and caregivers are evasive when asked for information about a resident’s condition or care.

2. Pressure Ulcers (or “Bedsores”)

Pressure ulcers (also known as pressure sores and bedsores) are injuries that result from prolonged periods of immobility. They are preventable, and nursing home staff should provide adequate assistance to residents with limited mobility in order to prevent these injuries from occurring.

3. Other Unexplained Injuries

In addition to bedsores, other unexplained injuries will often be indicative of nursing home neglect or abuse as well. This includes injuries consistent with falls and sexual abuse.

4. Unexplained Changes in Mood or Behavior

Elderly nursing home residents who experience neglect and abuse will often exhibit psychological symptoms including anxiety, depression, mood swings, unusually-aggressive behavior and withdrawal. As the family member of someone living in a nursing home, it is important to know how to spot the signs of elder abuse.

5. Unused (or Missing) Medications

Nursing home caregivers should be trained in the proper administration of prescription medications, and they should follow a detailed schedule to ensure that all residents receive their medications as prescribed. If your loved one is not receiving his or her medications, or if pills are disappearing more quickly than they should, these can both be signs of negligence or intentional abuse.

6. Missing Cash, Checkbooks and Credit Cards

In addition to physical and emotional abuse, financial abuse is a major problem in nursing homes as well. If your loved one is missing cash or checks, or if unexplained purchases appear on his or her checking account or credit card statement, these too could be signs of nursing home abuse.

7. Elopement

Elopement – leaving a nursing home without supervision – can be extremely dangerous for aging residents, and it is a problem that nursing homes need to take adequate measures to avoid. While elopement is often a product of dementia, voluntarily eloping is very frequently a sign that a resident has experienced abuse, and in almost all cases it is a product of negligent care.

If you have questions or concerns about your rights under the law, contact the Colorado Springs personal injury lawyers at Levine Law as soon as possible to discuss your options.

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