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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

There are six different categories of elder abuse which can cause significant harm to vulnerable seniors who are getting care in a residential facility or who are being cared for at home by professional nursing aids.  Administration for Community Living defines the six kinds of abuse to include financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect, emotional or mental abuse, sexual abuse, and abandonment. nursing home abuse

When nursing home abuse occurs, even if the abuse is just emotional, it can significantly increase the risk of illness or death in vulnerable senior populations.  The harm can be tremendous, and nursing homes need to be held accountable for losses. An Irvine nursing home abuse lawyer at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance to victims of abuse and their families who wish to pursue legal action after a nursing home’s failure causes harm.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse is very common. According to WIAT, 95 percent of 2,000 nursing home residents who answered a survey said they had seen abuse or neglect of others occurring and 44 percent had personally been victims.

Seniors are often unable to speak up themselves to stop abuse, either because they are frightened to speak out or because conditions like dementia prevent them from advocating for themselves. Visitors to nursing homes need to be especially watchful of possible signs of abuse so they can report the problem to appropriate authorities and so seniors who are harmed can be helped to take legal action.

Some of the different signs to look for include:

  • Bruises, cuts, scratches, broken bones, burns, or other physical injuries that can result from intentional physical abuse.
  • Bed sores or pressure sores, which can occur in bedridden and wheelchair bound patients who are victimized by neglect.
  • Malnutrition or dehydration, which are signs of neglect.  Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss can also be an indication of emotional abuse.
  • Depression, anxiety, personality or mood changes, or sudden loss of interest in activities.  When a senior suddenly begins experiencing emotional problems or withdraws from normal activities, this can be an indication of emotional abuse.
  • Redness in the genitals or breasts, or missing underwear. Sexual abuse is common in nursing homes, and can involve residents abusing other residents due to lack of supervision or abuse perpetrated by nursing home staff. Sexual abuse is about power, not about sexual attraction.
  • Unexplained loss or disappearance of money or assets. This can be a sign of financial exploitation.  If a senior suddenly changes a will or changes account ownership, this can also be a red flag that financial exploration is occurring.
  • Poor hygiene, broken eye glasses, or torn clothing. These can be signs of both neglect and of various types of abuse.

Adult Protective Services in California will take reports of nursing home abuse. Nursing homes can also be sued for the neglectful or wrongful actions of staff members who are entrusted with providing care to patients.  If you or someone you love suffered injury or was killed as a result of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it is important to understand your rights.

Contact an Irvine nursing home abuse attorney at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today so you can determine if you have a case and so you can get help starting a claim for compensation for injuries or damages caused by abuse.