Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect: What To Know

Posted on: 5 December 2018

Trying to locate and do your due diligence to find a good facility for your elderly loved ones can be a challenge. Unfortunately, even if you feel confident about your choice, your loved one could become a victim of abuse or neglect at a nursing home facility. It pays to monitor your loved one on a regular basis and to take action when problems arise. Read on to learn more.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

It can be difficult for most people to imagine hurting an elderly person in the ways that constitute abuse. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines elder abuse as " any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult". There are several categories of abuse and they include:

Physical abuse – causing physical harm by touching, grabbing, holding, hitting, etc

Sexual abuse – perpetrating sexual acts on a vulnerable elderly person without their permission or knowledge

Emotional abuse – yelling, threatening, manipulating, lying, etc to an elderly person.

Financial abuse – taking financial advantage of an elderly person.

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

This category of harm to the elderly is more difficult to define and some of the warning signs can be more subtle. In general, neglect is when a nursing home fails to provide adequate food, shelter, medical care, hygiene, or clothing for an elderly person in their care.

Red Flags for Loved Ones

Watch for the following signs that could show that something is not right with your loved one:

  • Unexplained marks on the body, broken bones, burns, etc.
  • Mood and emotional changes, such as fear, anxiety, depression, etc.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases and/or injuries to the genital regions.
  • Malnourishment
  • Poor hygiene
  • Bedsores
  • Dirty clothing or bedding
  • Missing property
  • Financial discrepancies

Taking Action

  1. Report the issue to the police immediately so that an investigation can be conducted.
  2. Call your state adult protective services agency and file a report.
  3. Contact the U.S. Administration on Aging at 800-677-1116 or use the website for help with problems at the facility.

Speak to a personal injury attorney about any suspected abuse with your loved one. They can suggest other resources to get help for your loved one. If you can prove your loved one was harmed, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation from the nursing home.