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5 Signs and Symptoms of Neglect and Abuse to Watch for in Nursing Homes

Often times, signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are overlooked and never reported. It’s not easy for the loves ones of nursing home residents to notice the signs of abuse and neglect, especially when some of these issues overlap with symptoms of general aging. The abuse and neglect may appear to be symptoms of dementia or a sign of their frail state. However, that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them when nursing home staff says so.

Look for the warning signs first. These may include arguments or tension between staff members and the resident, or changes in the resident’s personality or behavior. The experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Hupy and Abraham have compiled this list of 5 signs and symptoms to look for if you suspect abuse or neglect. If you notice any of the following physical and behavioral signs and symptoms, act immediately.

  1. Weight loss: Significant weight loss should raise suspicions of poor quality care. Medication and age are common contributors to weight loss. However, if a resident is not receiving the proper nutrition and hydration, significant weight loss will present itself.  Weight loss caused by poor nutrition can make seniors more susceptible to disease and illness. A decrease in senses can also cause a loss of taste and appetite, so it’s essential that nursing homes provide quality tasting, as well as nutritionally substantial food to residents.
  2. Bruises, welts, broken bones: Unless a resident has fallen (which may be a result of unsafe conditions), there is no cause for unexplained physical injuries. While seniors do bruise more easily with age, bruises do not appear without reason. Residents are frequent targets of abuse, as they are physically weaker and their memory is not always reliable. Unusual changes in behavior such as fear of touching, sucking, biting and rocking are common symptoms of physical abuse.
  3. Bedsores: Also known as pressure sores, bedsores are caused by poor nutrition and/or prolonged pressure on the skin of residents left to lie in one position for long periods of time. These sores are painful and can escalate to serious infections and other conditions if allowed to worsen. Bedsores are a sign of neglect and should be brought to the attention of a medical practitioner immediately.
  4. Restraints: Nursing homes often use physical and chemical forms of restraints on residents. While some residents suffer from dementia and other conditions that may require some restraint to keep them from self-harm, frequent use should raise red flags. Prolonged usage of arm/leg restraints, safety bars and overly tight bedding can cause bruising and contribute to bedsores. An abusive nursing home may also use chemical restraints such as psychoactive drugs and sedatives for prolonged periods of time to make residents more manageable. Personal injury while in restraints is very common, especially to seniors whose bodies are weakened by age. Outside of emergency situations, restraints should rarely, if ever, be used.
  5. Staff inattention: Many nursing homes are understaffed and overworked. This however is no excuse for providing subpar care. When staff struggle to give each resident the attention they require, mistakes happen. When residents suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia are left unattended they can wander off and cause harm to themselves or others. This is a sign of neglect, and staff inattention and laziness are to blame.

Nursing homes residents require quality care.  Be vigilant of the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Hupy and Abraham has a proven track record of success when it comes to helping victims of nursing home negligence and abuse. If you believe your loved one is not receiving proper care or not being treated with the dignity they deserve by a nursing home, take action. Please call us at 800-800-5678 to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation today.