5 Signs You May Have A Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

nursing home abuse lawsuit

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is difficult. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse cases have spiked in the past several years. While there is a possibility that abuse is just being reported more frequently, ensuring the safety and well-being of your loved one should be of utmost concern when considering placement.   

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports for “every case of abuse that is reported to authorities, nearly 24 additional cases remain undetected.”  Abuse is separated into five categories: Physical, Sexual, Emotional/Psychological, Financial, and Neglect.  

Knowing the types of abuse and their warning signs is crucial to helping maintain a safe environment for your loved one.

Types of Abuse & Warning Signs

If you notice any of the below signs, you should consider contacting an attorney to see if you may have a case for a nursing home abuse lawsuit:

Physical Abuse-The intentional or reckless use of physical force that results in bodily injury or physical pain.

  • Warning signs:
    • Bruises, welts, abrasions, lacerations
    • Head trauma, fractured bones,
    • Open wounds, sometimes seen in various stages of healing,
    • Falls, broken eyeglasses/frames
    • Medication overdose/chemical restraints
    • Sudden behavioral changes.

Sexual Abuse-Any non-consensual conduct with an older adult, perpetrated through force, threats, or the exploitation of authority. Any sexual interaction with elders who lack the capacity to give consent.

  • Warning signs:
    • Bruises, abrasions, or lacerations around the breasts or genital area
    • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
    • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
    • Increased anxiety/depression
    • Sleep disturbances, agitation, or restlessness.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse-Infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts, including, but not limited to, threats, insults, intimidation, isolation, or harassment.

  • Warning signs:
    • Emotional distress or agitation
    • Withdrawal from activities of daily life
    • Uncommunicative or non-responsive
    • Unusual behaviors commonly attributed to dementia (sucking, biting, rocking)
    • Lack of self-care
    • Lower self-esteem

Financial Abuse-The improper or illegal use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets. Includes stealing, coercing, or deceiving an older person into signing any document and the improper use of guardianship or power of attorney.

  • Warning signs:
    • Sudden changes in the bank account or banking practices, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money.
    • Abrupt changes to a will or other financial documents,
    • Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuables,
    • Depression/Anxiety
    • Provision of unnecessary services.

Neglect-The refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties of care to an elder, which includes but are not limited to life necessities, such as water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, and safety.

  • Warning signs:
    • Dehydration or malnutrition
    • Untreated bedsores
    • Poor personal hygiene
    • Unattended or untreated health problems
    • Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions.

Friends and family must take extra care if their loved one is cognitively impaired when monitoring for abuse. Elderly individuals who have dementia, for example, may speak of abuse, but it can be difficult to ascertain whether that abuse is recent or if it occurred in years past.  Monitoring for physical signs of abuse is critical to ensure that your loved one has not been a victim.  

Visit your family member/loved one often. Alter the times that you arrive at the facility to see different levels of care being provided.  Remove your loved one from the facility if possible to allow them to relax and speak freely.  Help participate in care yourself. And above all, do not ignore signs of abuse. 

Our team at Brown & Crouppen is dedicated to finding, pursuing, and holding accountable those responsible for abuse in a Nursing Home setting. If you believe you may have a case for a nursing home abuse lawsuit, our team will be there every step of the way to find them justice. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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