If you have a loved one in a nursing home, residential care facility, or assisted living facility, it is important to be vigilant in monitoring their well-being. Neglect and abuse are unfortunately common, and you may be the only advocate they have keeping an eye on their safety.
Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical and psychological abuse as well as financial exploitation. Learning to recognize some of the most common warning signs can help you keep a vulnerable loved safe.
No. 1: Unexplained Bruises, Fractures or Cuts
Falls are a common risk of advanced age. However, if your loved one has no illness or condition that causes falls, be wary of any unexplained cuts, bruises, fractures, dislocations, etc., as these could be an indication of abuse. Even if they do have a history of falls, nursing home staff should provide appropriate assistance and supervision necessary to prevent these potentially dangerous events.
No. 2: Sudden Personality or Behavioral Changes
Any sudden onset of anxiety, depression or fearfulness may be an indication that abuse is occurring. Likewise, a sudden onset of dementia symptoms – including confusion, insomnia, trouble walking and irritability — should also raise a concern. If your loved one suddenly starts refusing visitors or becomes fearful when you are getting ready to leave, it’s time to take a closer look into the possibility they’re being abused in residential care.
No. 3: Urinary Tract Infection
If your loved one begins to experience urinary tract infections (UTIs), it could be an indication of abuse. Older people do experience UTIs from time to time. However, if this condition has not previously been present, or if the infections recur, it could be an indication of abuse. UTIs left untreated can also cause many detrimental side effects. The staff should recognize symptoms quickly to take care of infections before they get worse.
No. 4: Missing Items & Financial Discrepancies
Most people become forgetful as they get older but, if your loved one complains about items going missing – especially valuable items – it could be a warning sign of financial exploitation. Keep a close watch on your loved one’s financial accounts and credit history as long as they’re in residential care. Financial exploitation is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse.
No. 5: Advanced Stage Bedsores
Unfortunately, bedsores (sometime called decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers) are a common occurrence for seniors in nursing homes, residential care facilities and assisted living facilities. Advanced stage bedsores, however, can be a strong indication of neglect. Failure to keep clothing and bedding clean and poor wound care can all contribute to this dangerous condition. In fact, bedsores can cause significant physical harm and potentially even lead to the victim’s death.
If you suspect that a loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or residential care facility, talk to an attorney as soon as possible. A nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can help you determine what, if anything, is going on and ensure your loved one gets the protection and care they need.
In Ohio, Clark, Perdue & List Co, LPA has an unparalleled commitment to service and care. Our experienced personal injury team can provide the answers you need to ensure your loved one is safe. Contact us now to speak to an Ohio nursing home abuse attorney.