Every year, more than 1.3 million people receive support in nursing homes. These facilities are designed to help people with day-to-day activities including bathing, eating, and taking medication, among others.
Unfortunately, some facilities don’t offer the same level of care. In fact, there are many cases of abuse in these homes.
Read this article to find out more about the 10 signs your loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse.
1. Confusion or Constant Drowsiness
Is your loved one more confused than usual? Do they feel disorientated, drowsy, and tired?
If so, this could be down to their medication. If the home isn’t paying attention to the dose, it could affect them in a negative way.
They could be overdosing them with their medication. They could also not be monitoring the adverse side effects of the medication.
The nurses and doctors within the nursing home should keep track of all medication they administer.
If your loved one seems under the weather, ask to check their medical records. If the medical records aren’t up-to-date, you may need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer.
2. Unusual Incontinence
If your loved one is suffering from unusual incontinence, they could be receiving the wrong medication.
It could also be because they’re not getting the help they need with toileting.
Additionally, if your loved one is wearing disposable underwear for incontinence, make sure they’re changing them. If not, their skin could break down or they could get infections.
3. Less Mobility
There are more than 5 million cases of elder abuse each year. One of the most common ways they’re taken advantage of is through their mobility.
Many people in nursing homes need help moving around. While some need help getting up, others can’t walk at all.
If your loved is immobile or has more difficulty moving around, they may not be getting the help they need.
Nursing homes offer walking and exercise routines to keep their patients mobile. If mobility becomes a sudden and unexpected problem, it could be that they’re not receiving the promised routine.
4. Poor Personal Hygiene
A nursing home looks after a person’s basic personal care. If your loved one suffers from poor personal hygiene, alarm bells should ring.
Some signs of poor personal hygiene include:
- Wearing dirty clothes
- Bad body odor
- Unwashed hair and skin
- Overgrown nails
- The smell of urine and feces
- Dirty bedsheets
The nursing home should ensure they’re bathing and toileting on a regular basis. They should also be cleaning their sheets and clothes.
5. Broken Bones or Dislocations
Broken bones and dislocations may be from slips, trips, or falls. But, if they seem unusual, it’s important that you investigate further.
While there may be a logical explanation, they shouldn’t happen, even in the best care homes.
You should also look out for scratches and bruises. These could all result from:
- Rough repositioning
- Medicine administration
- Rough handling during transfers
The nurses and doctors in the home shouldn’t cause any harm, be it by accident or on purpose. They have adequate training to avoid these accidents from happening.
6. Malnourishment or Dehydration
If your loved one is ill, it’s normal that they may not be able to stomach food and fluids as well as usual.
That said, if they’re not, keep an eye out for the following:
- Cracked lips
- Dry mouth
- Swollen tongue
- Sudden weight loss
All these are signs of malnourishment and dehydration. If they’re not getting the right help with their food and drink, this is a form of nursing home neglect.
7. Open Wounds and Bed Sores
When a person isn’t mobile anymore, they need extra care. This involves regular feeding and hydrating. They also need cleaning on a regular basis to ensure they’re not uncomfortable.
If your loved one has to stay in bed or a wheelchair, check for bed sores and open wounds. You should also check they’re getting the help they need to go to the toilet.
Additionally, if they suffer from a chronic illness, make sure they’re getting the medication they need.
8. Withdrawal From Favorite Activities
Is your loved one more fearful than usual? Do they avoid topics of conversation? Do they seem withdrawn or excluded?
If this is the case, there is a chance that they haven’t been able to participate in their favorite activities. They may also not be getting the mental and physical stimulation they need to enjoy their day-to-day lives.
This mental abuse is a form of elder neglect. It is as detrimental as physical abuse. It can lead to depression and anxiety. Over time, they may decide to stop eating, drinking, or taking their medication.
9. Anxiety and Depression
If your loved one is anxious, agitated, or embarrassed, they could be suffering from emotional abuse.
It could be that the nurses ignore their cries for help. They could be bullying and humiliating them in private or in front of others.
Remember, depression can lead to various physical symptoms. It’s important that you get to the bottom of their symptoms before it’s too late.
10. Financial Exploitation
There are various signs that a caregiver is exploiting your loved one. It could be that they’re giving them excessive gifts. They may also give away financial control to the most unlikely people.
Additionally, if your loved one can’t pay the bills or can’t explain personal transactions, you need to look into the issue further.
Under no circumstances should your loved one share their wealth with caregivers. A bunch of flowers to their favorite nurse on their birthday is one thing. Transferring their entire estate to them on a whim is another.
Get Legal Help if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse comes in various shapes and forms. From mental to physical neglect, any is as bad as another.
The key to avoiding or stopping it is to keep a close eye on the person in care. Regular visits and checking their medical records will allow you to know whether the care home is looking after them.
That said, if you suspect your loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect, contact Trapp & Geller today.
We offer assistance to injured and abused elders in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois.