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Recognize the Warning Signs: Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Recognize the Warning Signs: Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Families place tremendous trust in nursing facilities, and they have every right to expect an acceptable standard of care. That’s not only because nursing homes make a promise to families, often when they face difficult decisions concerning their loved ones, but also because they’re required by law to take reasonable measures which keep residents safe. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes uphold this duty. Some fail to protect residents from terrible and tragic harms – including those caused by abuse and neglect.

Domina Law Group knows abuse, neglect, and mistreatment in nursing homes can have profound and permanent consequences. Though there are systems in place to oust these wrongful acts, nursing home abuse and neglect is severely underreported. Victims, for fear of shame or sheer inability, are often reluctant to step forward and speak out.

To hold bad actors accountable, and potentially prevent further harm, families must take an active role in making their loved ones’ voices heard. This begins with recognizing warning signs of abuse, and red flags which suggest substandard care, failures, or inexcusable acts.

Red Flags: Abuse, Neglect, & Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Abuse and neglect in senior living homes, facilities that provide living assistance, and homes for the developmentally disabled take many forms. Be they subtle or dramatic changes in physical, emotional, or financial health, recognizing red flags is the first step to protecting a loved one’s health and safety – and a critical part of prevailing in any complex claim against at-fault parties.

Signs of Abuse

Abuse in any form is inexcusable, but is more common in nursing homes than most would believe. Whether it’s of a physical, sexual, or psychological nature, nursing home abuse is also terribly underreported. That’s a symptom of abuse, and one common among those in vulnerable or fragile states of health, and among any victim who fears fighting back against abusers.

Common signs of abuse include:

  • Unexplained injuries, bruises, cuts, or broken bones, as well as residents being reluctant to explain how those injuries occurred. This may indicate rough handling when transporting or repositioning residents, force feeding, and administration of medicines, or willful and intentional infliction of harm.
  • Sudden or unexplained changes in behavior, including depression, agitation, isolation, fear, anxiety, embarrassment and silence.
  • Strained or visibly unusual relationships between staff and residents, including fear and anxiousness in the presence of certain staff members.
  • A lack of interest or enjoyment in activities or hobbies residents once enjoyed.
  • Signs of punishment or retaliation committed by staff, including isolation, bullying, harassment, restraints, and more.
  • Failures of staff to respond to complaints and appropriately handle allegations of abuse, including physical and sexual abuse.

Signs of Neglect

Nursing homes and their employees have a legal obligation to take steps which ensure the health and safety of residents. Failures to uphold that obligation often result from negligence that could and should have been prevented – and commonly constitutes a violation of duties to patients.

While signs of neglect may be initially subtle, they can quickly escalate into extreme suffering and serious injuries or death. Knowing the warning signs and taking immediate action to voice concerns is critical.

Common signs that staff may be neglecting residents include:

  • Weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration caused by staff neglecting basic needs for food and water.
  • Poor hygiene, unsanitary conditions, infections, bed sores, and other signs of poor personal hygiene that may be caused by neglecting personal care and bathing, or failing to rotate a resident.
  • Failures to properly address and treat injuries, including those resulting from falls, abuse, and pre-existing neglect.
  • Worsening of medical condition symptoms or adverse health effects caused by medication errors, failures to monitor resident health, and other staffing errors.
  • Unexplained falls, accidents, or repeated avoidable incidents and mishaps that may indicate a lack of supervision, assistance, and appropriate care.
  • Decreased mobility which may be result from a lack of assistance, staffing problems, and more.
  • Behavioral changes, depression, isolation, and other signs that suggest a resident’s emotional needs are being neglected.

Signs of Financial Abuse

Elder financial abuse committed by staff or fellow residents is common in nursing homes. While capitalizing on trust or taking advantage of vulnerability for financial gain may be a crime – no criminal case provides a viable source of compensation to victims and their families for all their suffering and damages. Victims and their loved ones must pursue civil litigation when they suspect or know financial exploitation has occurred.

Common signs of financial abuse involving the elderly or disabled include:

  • Unauthorized cashing of residents’ checks
  • Forging a resident’s signature
  • Coercing or deceiving residents to sign financial documents
  • Sudden and unexplained money or asset transfers, transactions, changes to wills, and bank account withdrawals
  • Living conditions below the financial resources of a resident
  • Lost jewelry, collections, and other valuables

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Serving Nebraska & Beyond

When you suspect neglect or abuse may be to blame for your loved one’s injuries, losses, or emotional suffering, working with experienced attorneys is vital. As proven trial practitioners, our team at Domina Law Group is available to discuss your concerns, as well as your rights, available options, and how we may be able to help you seek justice and compensation. Eliminating nursing home abuse and neglect is of tremendous importance, and we value our role as advocates and litigators who help victims make their voices heard – even when they face off against corporations and commercial insurance carriers that prioritize profits over people.

Call (888) 387-4134 or contact us online to speak with a nursing home abuse attorney. Domina Law Group serves clients throughout Omaha, state of Nebraska, and the Mid-West.