Most people probably associate nursing home abuse with physical attacks on the elderly, but it can take many other forms. Residents are often subjected to emotional, financial, and sexual abuse as well. They will suffer horribly in a variety of different ways. Any kind of abuse is despicable, of course, and those who allow this behavior to occur must be held accountable.
That’s exactly what we do at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh. Every attorney on our team is committed to achieving justice for our clients. If you believe a loved one is being abused, please contact our firm as soon as possible. Our team will thoroughly investigate your claim and then work to punish those responsible.
Here’s a look at just a few of the types of abuse that happen far too often, as well as some of the warning signs your loved one may be a victim. Please use our online contact form, or call (561) 295-5825 to schedule a free consultation.
One of the most common forms of nursing home abuse is abandonment. Staff members may leave without telling anyone, leaving the residents in their care without any attention whatsoever. If your loved one has suddenly lost weight with no apparent explanation, is acting confused or depressed, or has dirty clothing or unwashed hair, they may well have been abandoned.
An astounding 10% of people over the age of 65 suffer some sort of abuse. Amazingly, nearly half of nursing home staff members flat-out admit they committed some type of psychological abuse during the past year. Examples include withholding food, yelling at residents, isolating them, and many others.
If your loved one is hesitant to talk with you near the nursing home staff, that could be a sign that they’re afraid of retaliation. They could be worried that the staff member is within earshot and will retaliate if they tell you anything. This might be a sign your loved one is experiencing emotional abuse.
This is a particularly prevalent form of nursing home abuse. Residents are oftentimes confused due to certain ailments and also have to take powerful medications that will normally put them to sleep. They’re incredibly vulnerable to theft as a result.
If you have access to a resident’s bank account, check it often for any unusual activity. If you spot it, report that activity to law enforcement as soon as possible. Also, if your loved one has any valuables in their possession, ask them if you can keep them at your home rather than in their room.
Neglect can be just as devastating as abandonment. When a nursing home is short-staffed, there simply aren’t enough personnel to properly care for residents. Those residents might not receive the medical treatment they need or might not even receive food. Other types of neglect include failing to properly address dangerous conditions, such as slippery floors.
One of the warning signs of neglect is a sudden change in mood. Your loved one may be more irritable or may seem confused. While there are times these kinds of problems can be part of the aging process, if they appear to have suddenly developed, that could be a sign that neglect is occurring.
An elderly nursing home resident is obviously going to be at a higher risk of suffering an injury than most people. They will often not be able to balance themselves and will be more prone to falling as a result. This can lead to severe injuries that can make it appear they’ve suffered from nursing home abuse.
Also, elderly nursing home residents will bruise much more easily because their skin isn’t as strong. Blood-thinning medications can also contribute to bruising. So, if you see bruises, don’t immediately jump to conclusions.
Unfortunately, there are many instances where physical abuse does occur, and residents suffer broken bones and other severe injuries as a result. Staff members will often hit residents or will not try to help them when they get out of bed.
If your loved one has been hurt, try to get them to tell you what happened. Talk to a nursing home administrator and demand to know why the injury took place.
If you have any reason to feel your family member has suffered from abuse and they’re still in immediate danger, call 911 immediately. Then speak with a Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh attorney so we can investigate and take whatever action may be necessary.
As bad as all of the above forms of nursing home abuse are, you could make a very good argument that sexual abuse is even worse. Residents can be abused sexually in many different ways, including unwanted touching and many others. Women make up nearly 70% of all nursing home residents and are much more likely to be victimized. Those with dementia, or other cognitive issues, are even more susceptible since their memories are impaired, and they will often not be able to communicate as effectively.
Some of the signs of potential sexual abuse include the following:
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Bloody or stained undergarments
- Bruising around the breasts or genital area
- Panic attacks
- Fear of being left alone, nightmares, and avoidance of certain people or places
If you have noticed any of the above, contact the police immediately and then get in touch with our firm to learn more about how we may be able to help.
Contact KMW if a Loved One was Abused in a Nursing Home
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we take allegations of nursing home abuse very seriously. We’ll be ready to investigate your claim and take swift and decisive action should our investigation verify that abuse is occurring.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our firm as soon as you can for a free case review. You can give us a call at (561) 295-5825, or you can use our online form. We’ve delivered positive results on behalf of our clients for years, and we’ll be ready to do the same for you.