If you suspect your family member or loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, you need to speak with a California nursing home abuse attorney right away. Nursing home abuse is a serious problem across the country, with many cases of abuse never reported. In some instances, cases go unreported because the victim was afraid to speak up or may not even realize they were victims. In other situations, elders who cannot communicate their abuse have no way of letting someone know. Do you know what are the warning signs of nursing home abuse?
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Before identifying the potential warning signs of nursing home abuse, you must understand the main categories of abuse. The primary types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse—Kicking, hitting, shoving, punching, improperly restraining, etc.
- Emotional abuse—Threats, intimidation, isolation, berating, yelling, and demeaning words.
- Sexual abuse—Unwanted and non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
- Financial abuse—Stealing or embezzling money, getting someone to change their estate planning documents, etc.
Nursing home abuse can be intentional, reckless, or negligent. Nursing homes are understaffed, and workers are usually underpaid and overworked. While they might be stressed out, it’s still no excuse to take out their frustrations on your family member.
Abuse results in significant losses for the victim and the nursing home, including physical, emotional, and financial. Additional medical expenses may be necessary to treat the victim for their injuries. Victims may develop severe psychological trauma to cope with the abuse or neglect. Offenders may face criminal charges as well.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Identifying potential abuse or neglect is not always straightforward. You need to look for possible warning signs that could indicate abuse is taking place. Potential examples include:
- Unexplained injuries,
- Repeated trips to the emergency room,
- Bruises, especially on the wrists,
- Dehydration or malnutrition,
- Pressure sores or bedsores,
- Broken or fractured bones,
- Sudden mood changes,
- Withdrawal from activities and hobbies,
- Depression or anxiety,
- Unexplained weight loss,
- Anger or fear around certain staff members,
- Lack of personal hygiene, and
- Sudden personality changes.
Look for other changes in the resident’s room and belongings. Is the room cleaned regularly? Are food trays removed after meals? If food trays are sitting there for days, trash is not emptied, and lines are soiled, it could point to other things that are not immediately visible.
Nursing Home Neglect Is Also Abuse
While often overlooked, nursing home neglect is also a form of abuse. Neglecting a resident can lead to health problems and significant emotional trauma. If a caregiver forgets and leaves an older adult in the sun for hours, the resident could develop a sunburn. If an immobile older adult is not turned regularly, they will develop bedsores that can become infected. Someone listed as a fall risk could suffer catastrophic injuries if the staff is preoccupied.
You must stay on top of things at the nursing home to ensure your loved one is well-taken care of at all times. Even when you research homes and feel you chose the best option, it doesn’t mean the facility has no unreported cases of abuse. Even the best-rated nursing homes can have one or two bad employees or contractors. Ultimately, nursing homes are responsible for the actions of their employees.
Contact Our Lawyers at Silva Injury Law
It’s crucial to report your findings if you suspect elder abuse or neglect in California. Reporting elder abuse and neglect can help stop the trauma your loved one is experiencing and keep other families from enduring similar trauma. Too many cases go unreported, which allows nursing home staff and contractors to go on committing similar acts again.
Should you choose to pursue legal action against the nursing home, hiring an experienced California nursing home abuse attorney is essential. These are complex cases requiring a lawyer with significant experience. Otherwise, you risk not meeting the burden of proof necessary to receive compensation. Fortunately, attorney Michael Joe Silva has previous experience working as a prosecutor in Merced County. He knows what is needed to build a strong case and help prove liability against the nursing home and its staff.
When you need answers to questions like, what are the warning signs of nursing home abuse?, contact Silva Injury Law to schedule an initial consultation. We stand by, ready to answer all your questions and help you pursue a claim against all responsible parties.
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