As a person ages, there are times when complete independence is no longer an option. If there are no family members that can take on the responsibility, or if an elderly person would rather not depend on family, a nursing home is an option. Here patients have a place to live, medical attention, and staff members that should take over some of their overall physical needs. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes are an ideal location to spend time. There are several signs to keep an eye out for that often point to the abuse of an elderly person.
One of the most obvious things people notice are the unexplained bumps, bruises, cuts or fractures. This doesnt’ mean that every injury is a result of abuse. However, if a patient is unwilling to explain what happened or doesn’t want the questions pursued, this is a red flag that something isn’t right. The type of injuries and their frequency should also be considered. A nursing home should be a safe place and if injuries are constantly occurring, it could be abuse or even neglect. Either one needs to be investigated.
The signs of abuse in nursing homes don’t always show on the outside. Sometimes the wounds are internalized, making it more difficult to see the signs and symptoms. Sometimes a change in behavior can be a sign that something is wrong. Is a person withdrawing emotionally from those around him or her? Is a patient acting different when friends and family come for a visit? This could mean that something is going on when no one else around. If a caregiver tends to be around when visitors come and the patient is quiet and interacts less, it could be cause to take a second look at the situation.
Patients in nursing homes often experience small injuries and do go through emotional changes. But too often, these issues are put aside and explained away without any type of closer look. It’s important that nursing home abuse be taken seriously, with accusations being investigated and suspicions being double checked. These patients often don’t have anyone else to advocate on their behalf.