Nursing home abuse and neglect can be horrifying for victims and their families. Families should know what to watch for and what the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
There are several common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect including:
- If the loved one is more confused, disoriented or drowsy, or sleeping more than usual, due to medication overdose or unmonitored adverse side effects of medication when medication adjustments are not made.
- If the loved one becomes incontinent due to a lack of help with toileting or if disposable briefs are not properly removed and replaced which lead to skin irritation or other problems.
- If the loved one becomes immobile or has greater difficulty getting around because they are not receiving regular assistance with walking daily or regular exercise programs.
- If the loved one has poor personal hygiene and smells of urine, feces or body odor. If the loved one wears dirty clothes, has unwashed hair or overgrown nails because they are not receiving basic personal care, including bathing and toileting.
- If the loved one has unexplained broken bones, dislocations, bruises or scratching that may be signs rough handling, forced feeding or administration of medication or rough transfers or repositioning.
- If the loved one is malnourished and suffering from sudden weight loss or is dehydrated and shows signs of a dry mouth, cracked lips or other signs of inadequate food or fluids, withholding of food or fluids or a lack of adequate help with feeding.
- If the loved one develops bedsores or open wounds or has frequent urinary tract infections because of improper care or necessary medical attention is withheld.
- If the loved one is suffering unexplained falls or accidents caused by poor supervision or incompetent assistance.
- If the loved one becomes isolated or withdrawn or shows a lack of interest in their favorite activities due to being forbidden to participate, little or no mental stimulation or fear of retaliation.
- If the loved one becomes agitated, anxious, fearful, guilty or embarrassed because they are suffering from emotional abuse including being ignored, ridiculed, bullied, humiliated or being threatened with punishment.
Nursing home abuse can cause lasting harm and physical and emotional scars for victims. There are important legal protections available that can hold those responsible accountable and help victims and families with their damages. Fort that reason, family members should be familiar with the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect and what they can do about it.