Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Warning Signs
Take immediate legal action to protect your loved one
Too many residents in Western PA are victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, and too often, those problems go unreported. Recognizing signs of abuse or neglect can be challenging, especially since there may be efforts to hide or not report the mistreatment.
The compassionate attorneys at Hal Waldman & Associates in Pittsburgh know firsthand how nursing home abuse and neglect can lead to heartbreaking consequences. We understand the toll this takes on you and your family.
Renowned for his extensive knowledge and experience in the field, Attorney Hal Waldman is an accomplished nursing home negligence lawyer who can help you find your way forward.
Learn how to look for the signs of abuse and neglect, and make sure nothing goes unnoticed.
What are common warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect?
Warning signs vary depending on the type of nursing home abuse and neglect. The following signs are often direct indicators of nursing home abuse and neglect:
If your loved one has suffered an unexplained injury, it can indicate possible abuse or neglect. These injuries, such as bruises, cuts, fractures, or burns, can appear on any body part. If left untreated, these injuries can worsen and cause further health problems for your loved one. Visible unexplained injuries should never be ignored.
Unexplained weight loss
Drastic weight changes can be a clear warning sign of possible neglect. Weight loss can be hazardous to elderly patients, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions. Weight loss is often a warning sign of malnutrition, which can be fatal.
Bedsores or pressure ulcers
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, are painful injuries that develop due to prolonged pressure on the skin, often in bony areas. Bedsores are a warning sign that the staff neglected your loved one's basic needs. When inspecting their body, look for red, inflamed skin, blisters, or open wounds. If left untreated, bedsores can lead to infections and tissue damage.
Sudden mood changes
Increased agitation or unexplained sadness can indicate potential abuse or neglect. These abrupt emotional changes may result from mistreatment, neglect of basic needs, or physical and emotional abuse.
Unexplained medical problems
Sudden health issues may sometimes be linked to medical neglect or inadequate care within the facility. This may occur if your loved one is not receiving the correct medication or dosage. Unsanitary practices can also cause unexplained medical problems by transmitting bacteria.
Changes in finances
Any unusual financial activities such as unexplained or drastic withdrawals from the resident's bank account, unpaid bills, changes in spending habits, missing personal belongings, unauthorized access to accounts, or alterations in legal documents are all warning signs of financial abuse. There may even be attempts to exclude your loved one from financial matters.
Changes in wills or estate plans
Sudden changes to beneficiaries or significant assets without clear reasoning can be a sign of possible financial abuse.
A closer look at the warning signs of nursing home abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect can be difficult to spot, depending on the type of abuse involved. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you may think. Abuse is usually broken into three types: physical, emotional, and sexual. By understanding each type and what signs to look for, you can take action to help protect your loved one.
Signs of physical abuse include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Unexplained bruises
- Marks from misused restraints
- Burns and abrasions
- Hair loss
- Damaged personal items (eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.)
Signs of emotional abuse include:
- Social isolation
- Insults, humiliation, and embarrassment
- Nervousness in social settings
- Signs of anxiety and depression
- Rocking and thumb sucking (signs that resemble symptoms of dementia)
Signs of sexual abuse include:
- Genital infections
- Bruises on breasts or near genital areas
- Vaginal or anal bleeding not medically related
- Bloody and stained undergarments
How to reduce the risk of nursing home abuse and neglect
Although nursing home abuse and neglect can happen right under your nose, you can take steps to reduce the risk of abuse and neglect. Communication is key. When speaking with your loved one, listen to them attentively. Their feelings and thoughts they share with you, as well as body language as they are talking, can hint into any abuse and neglect happening in the facility.
Although many residents are shy and closed off when discussing any mistreatment they have experienced, they may feel safe sharing complaints and concerns about potential abuse and neglect. Take their words seriously and never dismiss them. Address their issues and take action to protect them from harm.
The experienced team at Hal Waldman & Associates is ready to support you and your loved one. Speaking with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney is another step you can take to help prevent nursing home abuse and neglect. Protect your family and contact us today.