Nursing home abuse of the elderly takes many forms; it can be physical, emotional, financial, and even sexual. Nearly one-third of all nursing homes have been cited for actual nursing home abuse. My partner Samuel C. Rumph wrote an interesting article regarding this topic.
So we know nursing home abuse is prevalent, but how can a person who can't remain in a nursing home with a loved one recognize signs of nursing home abuse or neglect
You should always keep your eyes open. Signs such as scraps, bruises, weight loss, or even poor hygiene provide physical signs that abuse may be occurring in the nursing home. For example, the National Institute of Justice says that bruising is “one of the most common indicators of abuse and neglect.”
A study by the University of California, Irvine, found that accidental bruising occurs in predictable locations. 90% of all accidental bruises were to the extremities such as feet or hands, but none were to the ears, neck, genitals, buttocks, or soles of the feet. Consequently, finding bruises to the ears, neck, genitals, buttocks, or the soles of a senior's feet is a likely sign of abuse.
But much of the time, abuse results in a change in personality or withdrawal from social connection. The vulnerability of seniors in particular placed them at risk of a traumatic reaction to assault. Very few will talk about their assault. Even worse, a study by E. J. Lindbloom found that after following 20 victims of assault, the traumatic reaction to the assault led to 11 deaths within 12 months.
These problems occur because abuse frequently leads to a downward spiral that includes a loss of independence, complicating illnesses, and even death.
So what can you do. In addition to the above factors, you should make sure the nursing home your loved one is in has an abuse prevention policy. On page 22 of this article is a simple checklist that you can follow to see if your nursing home is taking steps to prevent abuse. Talk to your nursing home about this checklist and investigate whether procedures are in place to prevent abuse. You can also take a look at the following regarding your nursing home:
- Facility Policies
- Nurse Aide Registry
- Abuse Registry
- Nursing home survey report
- Licensing records
- Complaint data/resident grievances
- Customer satisfaction survey
While this checklist is certainly not conclusive of all warning signs that may become present, it is certainly helpful to be vigilant for these things. Frequent visits with your loved one and monitoring his or her care is a good way to avoid serious health and safety issues that may result if proper care is not being administered.
At Rumph Childers, we take nursing home abuse seriously. As a result, not only will a skilled attorney develop your case, but also we have a nurse on staff to assist with the unique medical issues facing victims or families of nursing home abuse or neglect. We treat every elderly victim of nursing home neglect like we would treat our own family members. We feel that it is our moral duty to correct problems encountered by seniors and to make sure that nursing homes are held accountable for their actions.
If you feel that a member of your family has been abused, we would like to help. We will provide you with a free consultation to explain your rights. If we are able to represent you or your family member, we will stop at nothing to bring these predators to justice.