Nursing home abuse is unfortunately an occurrence inside even the most vigilant of nursing homes. It only takes one or two rogue employees to go against their training and abuse a defenseless and often unaware elderly individual. These individuals take advantage of the fact that their patients will not speak up out of fear or will simply forget what occurred due to dementia and other memory-related problems. In July of 2015, a local nursing home had an incident of elderly abuse performed by two employees. The family visited their loved one and noticed cuts and bruises on her body. When confronted, the nursing home administrator looked at the tapes and discovered isolated incidents of abuse. The employees were immediately terminated and charged with elderly abuse. Unfortunately, not all families are so quick to notice a problem and not all nursing homes are so quick to take action.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is not always physical. While the physical is usually the easiest to spot, some employees take full advantage of their “control” over their patients. They can inflict emotional abuse that borders on terrorizing. They may yell at patients who are incontinent or bully patients into not asking for help when needed. They may also take advantage of patients and ask them to provide money or other items of value. These patients appear to be fine physically, but in reality, they are scared to ask for help or do anything that makes them look ungrateful.
Some abuse takes the form of simply not cleaning up after the patients as needed and making them stew in their own urine or feces for an extended period of time. Alternatively, maybe the nursing home is simply not changing the bedsheets and linens as required by law which can create horrible sanitary issues. Moreover, maybe the patients are being left in their rooms for days on end without being brought to their scheduled physical therapy, or social events which are known to enhance their stay and health.
The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
No matter the type of abuse, there are telltale signs that abuse is occurring. Aside from physical damage, if your loved one seems timid around the staff, it’s possible they are being abused. It is also possible that your loved one will suddenly begin to beg you not to ask the aides for help or assistance with anything. If they appear fearful, and that is against their nature, they may be experiencing abuse. Finally, if you are noticing physical and emotional changes, such as weight loss, keeping their head down, being quiet, or not wishing to socialize, there may be cause for investigation.
It would be nice to believe that abuse of the elderly does not occur, especially in nursing homes, however, that is not the case. While rare, it does occur and can be even more detrimental to a loved one than the new reality of being in a nursing home. If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, contact the WL Brown Law Office to learn your options and get the legal help you and your loved one needs and deserves.