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What are the Signs of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes?

It’s one of the most nerve-racking decisions you’ll ever have to make: deciding to place a loved one in a nursing home. But it may also be the best decision for both of you. A good nursing home can ensure your loved one gets the attention they need and deserve 24 hours per day. It also allows your time together to be spent enjoying each other’s company. However, even the seemingly best nursing homes can become dangerous quickly with the hire of a negligent or abusive caregiver. That’s why it’s important that family members know what types of elderly abuse signs to look for.

Here’s a guide every person with a loved one in a nursing home should read.

1. Physical Abuse

This can be hitting, beating, pushing, slapping, shoving, shaking, pinching, burning, squeezing, punching, striking with an object, inappropriate use of drugs and/or physical restraints, force-feeding, and physical punishment of any kind. Elderly abuse signs and symptoms include:

– Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks
– Broken bones, bone or skull fractures
– Open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries
– Sprains, dislocations, and internal injuries/bleeding
– Broken glasses, torn clothing, signs of being subjected to punishment or restraints
– Lab findings of medication overdose or lack of use of prescribed medications
– Sudden change in behavior, sudde/n outbursts of anger or crying
– Caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see a resident or be alone with him/her
– Caregiver’s refusal to allow resident to speak

2. Sexual Abuse

This is non-consensual sexual conduct of any kind with an elderly person. This includes any person incapable of giving consent. Examples of sexual abuse in a nursing home includes, but is not limited to, unwanted touching, coerced nudity, sexually explicit photographing, sodomy, rape, and sexual assault or battery. Signs and symptoms may be:

– Bruises around breasts or genital areas
– Unexplained venereal diseases or genital infections
– Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
– Torn, stained or bloody underclothing

3. Emotional or Psychological Abuse

This is the infliction of anguish, pain or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts, which could include: verbal assaults, insults, threats, humiliation, harassment, taunting, degrading, giving the “silent treatment” or isolating an elderly person from others. Elderly abuse signs and symptoms include:

– Sudden outbursts or crying or agitation
– Being withdrawn, non communicative or unresponsive
– Unusual or change in behavior usually attributed to dementia (such as biting, sucking or rocking)

4. Financial Abuse

This is the illegal and improper use of a resident’s funds, property or assets. This could include cashing a check without authorization or permission, forging a signature, misusing or stealing money or possessions, coercing or deceiving a resident into signing a document such as a contract or will, and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney. Signs and symptoms of financial abuse include:

– Sudden changes in bank account
– Unexplained withdrawal of sums of money, particularly if they’re large
– Abrupt changes in a will or other financial document
– Disappearance of funds of belongings
– Unpaid bills or substandard care being provided despite the financial capability
– Discovery of forged financial transactions or documents
– Charges for unnecessary services a resident isn’t receiving

5. Neglect

This is the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder and a resident. Examples include failure or refusal to provide necessities such as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, safety, and other essentials agreed upon or implied in being a caregiver. Signs and symptoms of neglect may include:

– Loss of weight, dehydration, malnutrition
– Poor personal hygiene, untreated bed sores
– Unattended and untreated health problems
– Unsafe or hazardous living conditions including improper wiring, lack of heat or air conditioning, no running water, etc…
– Unsanitary or unclean living conditions including dirt, bugs, soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell, inadequate clothing, etc…
– Being deserted or abandoned in public places

If your loved one is showing signs and symptoms of any form of abuse or neglect, seek help immediately. If the abuse is dangerous or life-threatening, contact the police. Otherwise, you’ll want to contact the skilled Arizona nursing home abuse lawyers at Knapp & Roberts at the first sign that all is not well.

When to Call Knapp & Roberts

We have a superior track record of holding nursing home facilities accountable when they fail in their duty to deliver proper care, and have won settlements and verdicts in the millions of dollars for our clients. While we cannot undo the damage your loved one has suffered, we can help the patient and family recover monetary damages, sometimes punitive as well as compensatory. Working together, we can reduce the incidence of patient abuse and hold care facilities to a higher standard, allowing our elderly to pass their final years in comfort and the best health possible at their age.

Call the Phoenix injury attorneys at Knapp & Roberts today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help at (480) 991-7677. There is never a fee unless we recover money for you.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.