Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
In order to protect your loved one or prevent more harm from being done, recognizing the signs and patterns of nursing home abuse is of utmost importance. If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, the following are several signs to be aware of:
Signs of Physical Abuse
When people think of nursing home abuse, they often imagine physical abuse since the signs and injuries can be easily detected. Physical abuse is the most common and obvious type of nursing home abuse.
Common signs of physical abuse include:
- Cuts and lacerations, bruises, and welts – Commonly caused by being punched, kicked, shoved, scratched, grabbed, or restrained, these injuries can be found generally in the upper arms, wrists, legs, and ankles.
- Broken and fractured bones – Being pushed, restrained, dropped, or otherwise physically battered can result in broken and fractured bones. Although these injuries can be caused by accidental falls, doctors and healthcare providers can determine if assault was the actual cause.
- Destroyed possessions – For example, cracked or broken eyeglasses can be the result of being punched or struck in the face.
- Being easily scared or startled – Being physically abused can be traumatic, which is why residents may remain continuously vigilant in order to protect themselves. Sudden movements and loud noises can easily startle or frighten them.
- Withdrawal – Not only may an abuser prevent a resident from talking about the mistreatment he/she has received, but also prevent the victim from seeing their loved ones. If you notice that your family member has been reluctant to accept visits, that could be a sign of physical abuse.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is persistent but subtle, since the damage is not visible to the naked eye. This form of abuse happens over a period of time, wearing down the resident psychologically, emotionally, and even physically. Common types of emotional abuse include isolation, verbal harassment, and psychological torment.
Common signs of emotional abuse include:
- Behavioral changes – Emotional abuse can cause anxiety and depression, loss of confidence, aggressive and violent behavior, trauma and PTSD symptoms, and even suicidal thoughts.
- Fearful of being left alone – If there is a particular staff member that your loved one is afraid to be alone with, this could be a sign of emotional abuse because he/she does not trust that person and afraid of being harmed.
- New soothing behaviors – Another common indicator of emotional abuse is when a loved one exhibits new and repetitive actions, such as mumbling, rocking back and forth, rubbing, or sucking his/her thumb.
- Withdrawal – Similar to physical abuse, emotional abuse can also lead to social withdrawal. Furthermore, a loved one may be emotionally withdrawn to a specific staff member.
- Losing interest in favorite activities – Whether your family member enjoys playing games or talking about her day, a common sign of emotional abuse is losing interest in activities that often bring him/her joy.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Unfortunately, nursing home residents can also be subject to sexual abuse, which is defined as unwanted sexual intercourse (i.e., rape or sexual assault), touching, forced nudity, forced sexual photography.
Common signs of sexual abuse include:
- Vaginal or anal bleeding
- Stained or torn undergarments
- Bruising around genitals or breasts
- A hip or pelvic injury
- Having issues sitting or walking
- Developing an unexplained sexually transmitted infection
- Engaging in aggressive, unusual, or other inappropriate sexual activities
- Social withdrawal
- Panic attacks
Signs of Financial Abuse
Lastly, financial abuse involves manipulating or otherwise taking advantage of an elderly or disabled person to obtain access to their finances. This type of abuse often goes undetected and difficult to uncover. Not only can staff members and other residents commit financial abuse, but also even friends and family members.
Common signs of financial abuse include:
- Unexplained purchases or changes in spending habits
- Withdrawals worth hundreds or thousands of dollars from bank accounts
- Having higher than usual credit card balances
- Developing a new friendship with someone who is stealing his/her money
- Being stressed or worried about money
Let Our Firm Protect Your Loved One from Nursing Home Abuse
At The Rick Hall Law Firm, LLC, we can help you and your loved one stop the abuse and file a lawsuit on your behalf to recover financial compensation. Our legal team can thoroughly investigate the abuse, collect and assess evidence, and maximize your award or settlement.
Call (803) 590-9900 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free initial consultation.
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