Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

depressed nursing home resident sitting in a dark roomIdentifying nursing home abuse is not always simple. Many elderly victims remain silent about the abuse they have endured, or lack the cognitive abilities to recognize or remember an act of abuse that occurred. For this reason, The Arnold Law Firm’s nursing home abuse attorneys in Sacramento want you to be able to recognize the signs of abuse.

If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, we are ready to help you fight for his or her protection. Do not hesitate to contact us to evaluate your claim and determine if we can hold the nursing home liable for the pain and suffering your loved one has endured.

Physical Abuse

Abuse against nursing home residents often takes form as the use of physical force or violence that results in harming, injuring, causing pain to or impairing a resident. This can occur as assault, battery or any form of involuntary restraint between a resident and a staff member.

There are several forms of physical abuse that occur in nursing homes, such as:

  • Scratching
  • Biting
  • Burning
  • Being pushed, hit, shoved or slapped
  • Threatening or assaulting a resident with a weapon
  • Inappropriately restraining a resident

Many victims of physical abuse are reluctant to speak out against their abuser, either out of fear of retaliation or because they have been shamed into silence. It is often left up to the victim’s loved ones to recognize certain signs that a nursing home resident has endured physical abuse, such as:

  • Hiding unusual injuries, such as burns, abrasions, cuts or bruises
  • Unexplained, or unlikely explanations for broken bones, fractures or dislocated joints
  • Attempting to treat an injury on his or her own without reporting the injury to a medical professional
  • Sudden loss of hair or teeth
  • Internal injuries that can be identified by painfully slow movement, difficulty standing or heavy bruising
  • Frequently being treated for injuries since the resident was admitted to the nursing home
  • Unexplained loss of interest in typical activities or social interactions that the resident previously enjoyed

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse in a nursing home can include any psychological distress or emotional pain and suffering caused by a caregiver. This form of abuse often violates a nursing home resident’s rights and can either be verbal or non-verbal, such as:

  • Humiliating or ridiculing a resident
  • Belittling or demeaning the resident
  • Habitually blaming the resident for simple mistakes or using him or her as a scapegoat
  • Intimidating the resident by yelling at or behaving threateningly
  • Isolating the resident from social activities or interacting with friends, family members or other residents
  • Terrorizing or menacing the resident
  • Ignoring the resident’s needs or requests

An elderly person who has suffered from emotional abuse may display several behaviors or characteristics, including:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Hesitating to speak openly out of fear others may discover the resident is being abused
  • Seeming hopeless, disturbed or scared
  • Suddenly becoming withdrawn, depressed or shy
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Changing sleeping or eating patterns
  • Displaying or hinting at a desire to harm them self or other
  • Being prevented from acting or making their own decisions
  • Being prevented from seeing or communicating with other people
  • Being prevented from joining social interactions

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in a nursing home often occurs when a resident is coerced, forced, manipulated or tricked into performing unwanted and undesired sexual contact with a staff member, caregiver or another resident. Unfortunately, sexual abuse in nursing homes is much more common than previously realized because it has gone largely unreported and been misunderstood.

Indicators of sexual abuse can include:

  • Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) while being cared for in a nursing home
  • Having difficulty sitting or walking
  • Suffering a pelvic injury
  • Unexplained bruises on the resident’s inner thighs or around the genital area
  • Experiencing bleeding, pain or irritation in the anal or genital area
  • Bloody, torn or strained undergarments
  • Extreme agitation
  • Unexplained withdrawal from social interactions
  • Suffering panic attacks or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
  • Staff members displaying inappropriate, aggressive or unusual sexual behavior around a resident
  • Suicide attempts

Elderly victims of sexual abuse are usually individuals who suffer from medical conditions that cause cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, confusion or difficulty communicating.

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect your loved one has suffered any form of abuse in the nursing home in which he or she resides, you should report the abuse to the proper authorities immediately. There are several state and government agencies that you can file a complaint with that will investigate the situation to determine if the nursing home should be penalized.

Our nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to assist you during this process to ensure your abuse claim is properly handled. We understand which agencies you should contact to provide the most effective and immediate help to your loved one.

Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Unfortunately, it is often left up to the family members or loved ones of nursing home residents to recognize and take action when a resident begins to display any of the previously mentioned signs of abuse.

Our Sacramento personal injury attorneys are experienced in helping injury victims throughout Sacramento and understand the severe physical and emotional effects that a traumatic event, like nursing home abuse, can have on a victim. We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to determine whether you have a valid nursing home abuse claim and which course of action you should take to help your elderly loved one.

Call (916) 777-7777 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form to get started.