How to Recognize the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Most of us do not like to think about nursing home abuse. The idea that someone could take advantage of an innocent elderly person in the worst ways is often hard to believe. Nursing home abuse is a terrible reality for many elderly residents in Missouri, but you can put an end to it with the right Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer – if you know what to look for in your loved one.

Physical Abuse

The signs of physical abuse can be the easiest to spot, but sometimes they are not obvious. Look for unusual bruising, such as wrap-around bruising on the upper arms or hand-shaped marks anywhere. Check under your loved one’s clothing, around the torso. Sometimes, an abuser will beat a resident around the torso under the assumption that no one but themselves will see the marks.

Physical abuse can also come in the form of neglect. If your loved one is showing signs of malnourishment, such as pale, saggy skin or yellowish skin tone, he or she may be the victim of neglect or abuse. An employee might withhold food or medicine from a resident as “punishment” or as a threat, leading to malnourishment. Other times, the nursing home itself fails to nourish its residents, using food with no health benefits. Ask to see the meals your loved one usually consumes, and if you can, check the packaging for nutrition details.

If your loved one has bedsores, this is a common sign of nursing home neglect and abuse. Bedsores are the direct result of your loved one being stuck in the same position in bed or in a wheelchair for too long. Nursing home staff should turn your loved one regularly and perform therapeutic exercises with him or her to prevent bedsores. If they leave your loved one alone for hours at a time, he or she can develop bedsores and infections – especially if he or she is also stuck in a used adult diaper.

Mental Abuse

Mental abuse is more difficult to detect than physical abuse, especially if your loved one suffers a mental illness, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. However, if you visit your loved one regularly and know his or her personality traits well, you can pick up on potential signs of mental abuse. If your loved one expresses unexplained feelings of depression, anxiety, shame, or guilt, the nursing home staff may be mentally abusing residents.

Other signs of mental abuse include withdrawal from normal daily activity or social activities your loved one usually enjoys. If he or she appears withdrawn, ask what’s wrong. If your loved one does not have an explanation or seems unwilling to talk about it, you should consider conducting an investigation into the nursing home staff.

Pay attention to how the staff treats other residents. Are they being polite and respectful? Are they listening to nursing home residents’ needs? Also, look at how employees speak with each other, as this may be a good indication of how they speak to residents when no one is around.

Other Forms of Abuse

Sexual and financial abuse are less common than physical and mental abuse, but unfortunately, these acts still occur. Signs of sexual abuse include bruising around the thighs, difficulty walking or sitting, unexplained pelvic injuries, and signs of depression or anxiety. Financial abuse can have similar signs to mental abuse if the staff member is threatening your loved one into giving him or her money. Keep a close eye on your loved one’s financial accounts, and report any suspicious withdrawals immediately.

If you need experienced Kansas City personal injury attorneys to get involved in your nursing home abuse case, contact Dickerson Oxton, LLC. We are passionate about protecting the rights of the elderly who cannot protect themselves. Call us at (913) 428-8220 or contact us online today for a free consultation.