If your loved one is living in a California nursing facility, you’ll want to be aware of some startling statistics recently shared by the World Health Organization. Current data reportedly shows that as many as two out of three care providers in such facilities have admitted to committing elder abuse. In light of such shocking information, it is critical to know what the most common symptoms of nursing home abuse are, and where to seek support if you believe that your loved one has suffered injuries.
There is no excuse to justify substandard care in a nursing home, much less neglect or abuse of the elderly. While some symptoms might be immediately apparent, others are much more subtle — perhaps even unnoticeable at first. If your loved one exhibits any of these signs, it is critical (and may save his or her life) to further investigate the situation.
Has your loved one told you that a staff member is abusive?
One of the most common symptoms of nursing home abuse is when a patient verbally reports the abuse, either to a family member, another staff member or a friend. Sadly, many often disregard such remarks, casting them off as complaints from an old person that are likely without merit. It is imperative to take any comment or complaint seriously, especially if your loved one says that a worker has been rough, mean, or has made threats.
Unexplained injuries are often symptoms of nursing home abuse
It’s a fact that elderly people often bruise easily, which can happen in a benign situation, such as bumping an arm or leg on a piece of furniture. If that is how your loved one suffered a bruise, he or she should be able to tell you that. Injuries like contusions, abrasions, lacerations, swelling or inflammation should never go unexplained. If you ask a staff member or nursing home administrator about an injury and are not satisfied with the explanation you’re given, trust your instincts and investigate the matter.
Additional symptoms that should raise concern
In addition to the symptoms listed in the previous sections, the following list shows several more issues that suggest nursing home abuse:
- Your loved one is excessively hungry or thirsty all the time. This is often a sign that a staff member is using food or water deprivation as a threat or punishment.
- If your loved one exhibits behaviors such as agitation, tenseness or fear when a particular staff member is nearby, it is definitely a possible sign that the person in question has been abusive toward your family member.
- When you visit, your loved one should be clean, and there should not be dirty linens or foul odors in his or her room. If this is not the case, it merits an investigation because abuse or neglect may be occurring.
Nursing home abuse is a form of medical malpractice. If your loved one has suffered physical, emotional or economic damages because of substandard care or abusive behavior, you can take steps to seek accountability against the party in question, as well as financial recovery for any losses or damages that occurred.