The Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Over 1.5 million seniors live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the US and the numbers will increase as the baby boom generation gets older. Massachusetts has over 42,000 seniors in its nursing homes. Many seniors need nursing home care since they are unable to care for themselves from physical or mental disabilities. In other cases, seniors’ adult children, if any, may be unwilling to care for them or lack the resources to do so. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed or have ill-trained staff, which leads to negligent and abusive practices that leaves residents reeling from injuries, depression, malnutrition and exacerbation of their already frail conditions. If you suspect abuse, consult with Boston nursing home abuse lawyer Paul Tetzel.
Nursing homes are usually owned by large corporate entities and are profit-driven despite strict state and federal regulations meant to ensure residents get the proper medical attention, nutrition and are secure. Because the welfare of a resident is often secondary to the interests of the company shareholders, regulatory violations that include abuse are rampant. About 90% of all nursing homes have been cited at least once for infractions or abusive practices that have injured residents.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home facility, you should be cognizant of nursing home abuse signs, which can be physical, emotional or financial.
Signs of Physical Abuse
There may be explanations of suspicious injuries to your loved one, but if they have any of the following nursing home abuse signs, action on your part may be warranted:
- Bruising on face, arms or genital area
- Instances of medication overdosing—know what the complications may be
- Failure to administer medication resulting in abnormally high blood pressure, racing pulse, mood changes, physical pain
- Broken limbs from a fall
- Bedsore and skin infections
- An unclean room
- Rope or restraint marks on wrists and legs
- Torn clothing
- Blood on clothes
If any of these signs are evident, demand to see your loved one’s records. If you suspect abuse, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer about a further investigation and getting your loved one immediate medical attention.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Indications of emotional abuse may be subtle. Look for these possible warning signs:
- Fear of a staff member
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Not wanting to participate in activities despite having previously done so
- Loss of appetite
- Mumbling to oneself
- A staff member or caregiver who is rude or ridicules or taunts your loved one or other residents
- A staff member who restricts your loved from seeing others or engaging in activities
Although a resident may have signs of dementia, a sudden change in mood or attitude as well as the conduct of staff members that is less than caring should not be ignored.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Elder abuse also includes financial exploitation or fraud since many seniors either have dementia or are lonely and welcome the attention of anyone offering to help them. Facility residents have medical expenses and other debt obligations and may be receiving income from Social Security or other sources. You should be reviewing their bank account and bill statements to see if these obligations are being met and that they are receiving their designated funds. Warning signs of financial abuse include:
- Unusual activity in a bank account
- Unexplained financial transactions
- Sudden loss of funds in an account
- Unpaid bills
- Unauthorized permission to a caregiver or staff member to handle bills or other financial affairs
- Expensive gifts to non-family members
Along with financial exploitation, a nursing home may be engaged in healthcare fraud by billing for services that were never delivered, ordering unnecessary equipment or treatment and overcharging.
Consult Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Paul Tetzel
Nursing home abuse and complaints of injuries sustained by residents are increasing as our population ages and facilities fill up. Because the nursing home your loved one is in has probably been cited for infractions or even abuse at some time, you should be diligent about nursing home abuse signs. Consult with Boston nursing home abuse lawyer Paul Tetzel who will represent your claim of nursing home negligence while vigorously represent advocate on behalf of your interests. Call his office if you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse.