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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home abuse lawyer erie paAlthough we trust nursing homes to take care of our loved ones when their medical and personal needs become too serious for non-professionals to handle, the sad reality is that some nursing home patients are subjected to abuse and neglect by the people entrusted to care for them. What’s more scary is that abuse and neglect are not always obvious — abuse and neglect can continue and go unnoticed for a long period of time, until they result in serious or permanent injuries for the victim.

Even when a senior who has been the victim of abuse or neglect is aware he or she is being victimized, they may fear informing loved ones or speaking out due to the worry that no one will take them seriously and that staff will treat them even worse. As a result, it is important for families of loved ones in nursing homes to actively look out for signs of abuse and neglect. If your family has someone residing in a nursing home, here are signs of abuse and neglect you should be looking out for.

Signs of Physical Abuse

When people think of nursing home abuse, they most often picture physical abuse, as it is the form of abuse that most often leads to obvious or visible signs. Signs of physical abuse can include:

  • Broken bones — although nursing home residents can suffer bone fractures during innocent falls, physicians can tell the difference between an accidental fracture and one inflicted by abuse
  • Bruises and cuts, particularly around the wrists and ankles and upper arms, which indicate that someone has been forcefully grabbed or been restrained
  • Sudden changes in behavior, such as withdrawal
  • Being scared or startled easily, which indicates that someone is continuously on edge to protect or defend themselves

Although elderly persons can injure themselves due to accident, multiple injuries that are unexplained and in various stages of healing often indicate abuse rather than accidents

Signs of Emotional or Mental Abuse

Emotional or mental abuse often takes place over an extended period of time, slowly causing mental, emotional, cognitive, and even physical injury; in many cases, the victim may not even be aware of the harm they are suffering. Signs of emotional or mental abuse include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior, including withdrawal, anxiety, or loss of confidence
  • Fear of being left alone, including fear of being left alone in the presence of specific staff members
  • Repetitive behaviors, such as rocking back and forth or mumbling
  • Refusal to take medication

Although many of these signs also occur due to natural cognitive declines that come with old age, when they happen suddenly or are part of a pattern, it could indicate that a person is being victimized by emotional or mental abuse.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Signs of sexual abuse can include:

  • Bruises around breasts or the genital areas
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Torn or stained underwear
  • Bleeding from genital or anal areas
  • Sudden changes in behavior, including self-isolation or agitation and outbursts

Signs of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can involve outright theft from an elderly person, or it may be more subtle by involving manipulating the victim to give consent to financial transactions that benefit the abuser. Signs of financial abuse include:

  • Unexplained expenses
  • The victim’s inability to remember certain expenditures
  • Enrollment in programs requiring monthly payments
  • Making charitable payments to unknown and unregistered causes
  • Bills for unexpected expenses
  • Missing cash, checkbooks, credit or debit cards, or other personal documents
  • Sudden behavioral changes such as secretive behavior or hoarding personal and financial documents

Signs of Neglect

Neglect involves the failure to furnish care to a person who is unable to perform that care for himself or herself. Signs of nursing home neglect include:

  • Lack of cleanliness and hygiene
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic dehydration
  • Bed sores
  • Frequent infections and illnesses, especially when they are not promptly reported to physicians and family
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Failure to provide timely care for mobility issues or medication
  • Apparent lack of compassion from staff towards residents

Contact an Erie Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today

Seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Additionally, nursing home staff needs to ensure that patients are safe and secure at all times. If your loved one suffered an injury, or worse, due to nursing home negligence or abuse in Pennsylvania, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, and Meadville. Call (814) 833-7100 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation today. We have an office conveniently located at 2525 W. 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, as well as offices in Meadville and North East.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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