Nursing Home Abuse: Knowing the Signs
Nursing home abuse is a heinous crime in which residents of long-term care facilities are subjected to neglect, abuse, and dehumanizing treatment at the hands of their abusers. One of the most undoubtedly vulnerable swaths of the populations are the elderly and infirm. People who have lived long, full lives, but now require extra help with caring for themselves. Some families are fortunate enough to be able to afford in-home care for their aging parents, grandparents, or loved ones. However, many families have to face the difficult decision to place their elderly and infirm loved ones in a nursing home, hospice, or another type of long-term care facility.
The statistics surrounding nursing home abuse are alarming, even under the most forgiving of parameters. A 2012 study found that around 85% of assisted living facilities reported at least a single case of abuse or neglect on behalf of caregivers. That’s not counting cases that go unnoticed or unreported. The decision to place loved ones in a long-term care facility is already a difficult one, with hand-wringing families left wondering whether or not their loved one will be cared for well and how they will fare inside. Families may spend weeks, if not months, exercising due-diligence and vetting potential care facilities in order to ensure that their families get the best of care. However, sometimes families can still be caught off-guard when allegations of nursing home abuse arise after they’ve placed their loved ones.
Nursing home abuse can take multiple forms, and it’s important that families and professionals educate themselves in order to be advocates for the residents. These are problems that are often caused by operational issues within the facility itself, such as poor hiring processes, understaffing, improper training, and burnout amongst caretakers. There is also a myriad of socioeconomic and financial factors that can further exacerbate these problems. That is why it’s important for facility administration and families alike to know the signs of nursing home abuse so there can be swift and diligent intervention.
Physical abuse: Nursing home staff directly and physically abuse residents with acts like, pushing, kicking, pinching, or even manipulating their medication. This type of abuse is typically the easiest to recognize, but is also the greatest threat to their person.
Signs: Bruises, burns, welts, bedsores, pressure ulcers, cuts, lacerations, broken bones, head/dental injuries, dehydration, malnutrition, repetitive bouts of illness or infection, poor personal hygiene.
Emotional abuse: This type of abuse includes demeaning and humiliating patients, and also keeping their friends and family at arms-length in order to isolate them from other points of contact that might expose abuse. Despite the lack of physicality in this type of abuse, affected residents can develop severe anxiety and depression as a result.
Signs: Anxiety, depression, change in personality, exhibition of aggressive or violent behavior, substance abuse, suicidal ideation/actions.
Nursing home neglect: Abuse doesn’t have to be direct in order to have harmful effects. When residents are left unattended, typically to disorganization and understaffing.
Signs: bedsores, malnutrition or dehydration, unchanged clothes and filthy bedsheets, new or worsening infections.
Sexual abuse: However horrifying it sounds, residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities can also be the targets of sexual battery or abuse. Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable in the population, and are more likely to be abused due to their inability to fight back, articulate consent, and inability to disclose.
Signs: Bruises or welts around the genitals, unexplainable STDs, inappropriate physical contact with staff.
Financial abuse: For a myriad of reasons, residents of nursing homes might be unable to manage their own finances. This makes them a prime target for scammers and abusers. Putting aside the petty theft that can take place where caretakers take small items of value from their rooms, financial abuse can also occur on a much larger scale in the form of check fraud.
Signs: Strange bank transactions or charges, new credit cards or bank accounts in the resident’s name, or a new change in power of attorney.
When it comes to finding proof of nursing home abuse, it can be tricky. Depending on the facility, faculty and administration may be uncooperative with families who are accusing their staff of abuse. They can stonewall requests for records or meetings with administration, or cover up for staff members who have a history of abusing patients in order to prevent legal action. A private investigator could be the perfect professional to investigate claims of nursing home abuse. Private investigators are licensed by the state and have access to verified databases comparable to that of law enforcement that allow them to run background checks on subjects in the investigation, from administration to caretakers. They can also look up the facility’s litigation records to determine whether or not they have a history of litigation with the families of residents. Private investigators can go undercover to infiltrate the facility and document the unseen factors such as living conditions, treatment of residents, and the oversight of administration.
If you have need of a private investigator for a nursing home abuse investigation, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our investigation services and learn how we can help your family get clarity in crucial matters. Call today at 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com. When it comes to the safety of your loved ones, you deserve facts, not fiction.