Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Elder abuse occurs in both institutional and family settings. Nursing home abuse does not discriminate and occurs across all population groups irrespective of race, gender, or ethnicity. With the great increase in the elderly population, it is very surprising that little attention has been focused on addressing the multiple problems surrounding abuse of the elderly citizens living in nursing home. Especially since nursing home abuse is harmful and could be fatal if it is not stopped.

Who suffers Nursing Home Abuse?

Elder abuse is a significant, although largely underreported, problem in the United States. It is estimated that as many as five million elderly Americans are abused each year, and the incident rate may be rising. Furthermore, government officials estimate that as little as ten percent of crimes against elderly members of our society are reported. If you feel that someone you know is experiencing nursing home abuse, it might be worthwhile to investigate a negligence lawsuit. This can be accomplished by investing the specific circumstances of the nursing home abuse and contacting a qualified local lawyer.

Example of Nursing Home Abuse Victim

The typical nursing home abuse victim tends to be female, in very poor health, socially isolated, and often unable to make her own decisions regarding her  health care decisions. The combination of all these factors can lead caretakers in an assisted living facility or nursing home to take advantage of a person. However, almost any type of resident in a long-term care facility could be suffering abuse. A thorough investigation of the specific circumstances and facilities will be required.

Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse

Visible injuries that physically occurred on the patient’s body are the easiest types of nursing home abuse injuries to notice immediately. Most such acts of resident abuse contain some element of deliberate cruelty and maltreatment by caretakers. Acts of resident abuse frequently go unreported and undetected, either because the resident is cognitively impaired, or is fearful of retaliation if he or she speaks up against a staff member. The staff member may decide to injure the patient due frustration in caring for them or other problems with the nursing home. The following are some examples of abuse and typical injuries that might indicate abuse by a care provider.

Physical nursing home abuse can take many forms:

Hitting, slapping, punching, and spitting at the resident, rough handling during care, squeezing roughly, biting, using hot or overly cold water; pinching, punching, pulling, and twisting limbs or hair; and the improper use of physical and chemical restraints.

Warning signs of physical nursing home abuse include:

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Head injury,
  • Fractures
  • Bite marks,
  • Unexplained burns or hair loss
  • Physical deformities, contractures, dislocation, pain, tenderness, swelling
  • Finger marks resulting from harsh gripping

The resident may become withdrawn, fearful, or depressed, assuming survival of the physical abuse.

Warning signs of emotional and sexual nursing home abuse include:

Psychological abuse is commonly manifested by berating, threatening, ignoring, ridiculing, yelling, and cursing at the resident. The resident may show behavioral changes in response to the psychological abuse. Sexual abuse is nursing homes is also becoming quite common. The resident may have difficulty walking or sitting. Withdrawal, depression, and denial may occur.