What are the signs of nursing home abuse?

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Nursing home abuse is one of the worst kinds of abuse and one of the reasons why is that it can come in many different forms. There is physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse, all of which are terrible because it means that the nursing home staff are taking advantage of a person who cannot defend themself. Fortunately, every kind of abuse has some kind of sign that can be noticed and once someone knows that something wrong is going on, they can take steps to stop it, actually preventing elder abuse from occurring.

However, they may end up needing the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer to do so. The reason is that if they notify the facility of the abuse that is happening there, they may not necessarily do anything about it. If that is the case, then a nursing home abuse lawyer can help to file a lawsuit against the facility and compensate the abused residents for the damages they suffered. Furthermore, they can help to ensure that the nursing home does not abuse any other residents in the future. 

Signs of Physical Abuse

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Physical abuse has some of the most distinct signs that are easy to identify. Those signs include the following:

  • Bruising, scarring, or visible welts on the body
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Sprained or dislocated joints
  • Trouble performing physical activities that they had no problem with before
  • Signs of restraint around the wrists or ankles
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An hospitalized elderly patient – Image Copyrights by: Jess Pohlman – Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Signs of Sexual Abuse

This kind of abuse can be more difficult to identify since it might involve trauma to parts of the body that are not normally visible. That is why it is usually other staff members who are more likely to notice the signs of sexual abuse, which include the following:

Signs of Emotional Abuse

This one can be tricky to identify since there are no physical signs at all. Instead the signs mostly come in the behaviour of the resident, and that change in behaviour depends on the type of emotional abuse to which they are subjected. Some signs of emotional abuse include:

  • The resident avoids eye contact with everyone
  • They get nervous and afraid around certain staff members
  • They may act anxious and paranoid with no explanation
  • They may experience severe mood swings
  • They seem more withdrawn and introverted than they usually are

Signs of Financial Abuse

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Financial abuse can be difficult to catch since that means looking into the residents various accounts, and even family members may not have access to those accounts. Nonetheless, there are still signs of financial abuse that an observant person can notice:

  • Unusual withdrawals from the resident’s bank account
  • Changes to their will, life insurance policy, or power of attorney
  • Bills for unusual purchases that are never received by the resident
  • ATM withdrawals that could not have been done by the resident

Contact an Attorney If You Notice Signs of Abuse

Whether you are a staff member at a nursing home or the family member of a nursing home resident, you should come forward if you notice any signs of any kind of abuse. If you live in Illinois and notice that a loved one has been injured because of nursing home neglect or abuse, then you should notify the Illinois Department of Public Health’s nursing home complaint hotline at 1-800-252-4343 and then contact the Rooth Law Firm.