The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is probably one of the hardest decisions that many people have to face in life. As stories of nursing home abuse periodically appear in the news, you may be especially concerned about ensuring that your loved one receives the best care. However, you can make this possible if you regularly visit your loved one, know and speak with the nursing home staff, and watch out for the signs of the four primary types of abuse that can occur in nursing homes:
· Physical abuse: This type of abuse is the easiest to discover. It can be caused by anything from physical violence to simple neglect. Some of the signs of this type of abuse include bedsores, broken bones, suspicious bruising or cuts, malnutrition or lack of hygiene.
· Emotional abuse: This includes any verbal or nonverbal behaviors that are intended to cause distress or anxiety. Since there are not any obvious physical signs, this type of abuse is much harder to detect. However, your loved one may be suffering from emotional abuse if he or she exhibits fear or anxiety around others, changes their behavior significantly, or tells you about abusive or harassing language/behavior they experienced.
· Sexual abuse: Unfortunately, the elderly are not immune to sexual abuse. Generally, this type of abuse includes nonconsensual sexual content with someone who does not or is unable to consent. Signs of sexual abuse include genital bruising, sexual transmitted infections, and stained or torn clothing.
· Financial abuse: This may involve using misrepresentations, threats or coercion to access or take a nursing home resident's financial assets or property. Be on the lookout for unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts, suspicious modifications to life insurance or estate planning documents, and unexplained credit cards or lines of credit.
If you observe any of these signs of abuse during the course of your visits with your loved one, it is important to take action immediately to ensure their safety. Once your loved one is safe, call the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C. Our attorneys will investigate the circumstances, gather and preserve evidence, and work to hold the parties responsible for the abuse accountable.