Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Employee pushing woman in wheelchair at a nursing home.

When the decision is made that it is time for an elderly person to go live in a nursing home, it is usually the family who helps look for the facility where their loved one should live. It is also the family who has the onus of being aware of any signs that their loved one is being abused or neglected by staff or another resident at the facility.

Knowing what signs to look for is critical in keeping watch over your elderly family member. Below are some ways you can monitor your loved one’s care as well as some red flags to watch for that could indicate potential abuse or neglect. If you suspect abuse, contact a nursing home law firm right away to speak with a nursing home abuse attorney and find out what legal steps to take.

Visit as Often as Possible
The best way to ensure your loved one is not being abused or neglected is to visit the facility on a regular basis. However, do not visit at the same time or on the same day of the week. It is better to visit at different days of the week and different times of the day – within reason. This way you are not establishing a routine. It will also be easier to notice any inconsistencies in the care your loved one is receiving. When you do visit, find out what types of choices your loved one gets to make for themselves or if all decisions are made for them. For example, are they able to choose different activities to engage during the day?

Pay Attention to the Cleanliness and Routine of the Facility
When you visit, you want to also pay attention to what the staff is doing and how they act around residents. Some of the observations you want to make include:
· Do staff members appear they are trained?
· Do staff members wash their hands before they deal with residents?
· Do staff members know your family member’s name?
· Do staff members respond right away when a resident calls them?
· How much time do staff members spend talking to each other and does this interfere with the time they are interacting with residents?
· Do staff members respect the residents?
· How do residents react to staff members?

Signs of Abuse or Neglect
Broken bones, bruises, and cuts are obvious red flags of abuse. But there are many other signs that aren’t so obvious. If there are changes to your loved one’s personality, if they mumble instead of speaking clearly, if they get sick a lot, or if they appear tense or stressed around certain staff members, these are signs of possible abuse. If you see any of these signs, you want to document them, with the date, time, and details.
After documenting these incidents, contact an attorney to schedule a call or meeting regarding nursing home abuse. As Cohen & Cohen can attest, a reputable law firm can advise you on what steps to take to stop the abuse and get your loved one the financial justice they deserve.