Nursing home abuse is, tragically, an all-too-common occurrence, as about 1 in every 10 nursing home residents will be abused at some point during their residency in these facilities (according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
While some cases of abuse occur at the hands of nursing home staff members, some instances of abuse occur when residents abuse other residents because staff members are neglecting to properly watch over their charges. In other cases, nursing home abuse may even occur at the hands of the family members (particularly in cases when relatives may have an alcohol or drug addiction problem).
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, here are some common indications that abuse may be occurring. By being vigilant to such signs of nursing home abuse, you can intervene and get your loved one help if you suspect that their health may be in danger as a result of abuse or neglect.
Common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Your loved one having new, unexplainable physical injuries – New bruising, cuts, sores or even broken bones can be immediate red flags that some type of abuse or neglect is occurring. For instance, while bruising around a resident’s wrists and/or ankles can indicate that a nursing home staff member may be improperly restraining your loved one, physical injuries like broken bones can be a sign that neglect has led to a serious fall or even an assault by another resident. When you notice new physical injuries on your loved one and your loved one is unable to explain the causes of these injuries, make sure you also ask nursing home staff about what happened. If staff don’t have answers for you (or seem to be lying to you), it’s time to take action and report your concerns.
- Your loved one being emotionally withdrawn from you – If you notice that your otherwise animated, engaged or lively loved one has suddenly become emotionally withdrawn from you, don’t shrug off this change as simply an “off day” for your loved one.
Such withdrawal is commonly associated with abuse, and it may be the only sign of nursing home abuse for residents who may have impairments that prevent them from being able to remember or communicate the abuse to their loved one (because, for example, they are battling dementia or Alzheimer’s disease).
- Your loved one developing bed sores or infections – Bed sores, which may also be called pressure ulcers, can be an indication that your loved one is being seriously neglected by nursing home staff. These wounds develop over a period of time as pressure on a certain area of the body compounds and wears away the skin. In most cases, bed sores develop on angled, bony parts of the body, like at the heels, hips, shoulder blades, elbows, etc.
When nursing home residents are left in bed for extended periods of time and staff do not tend to them (by, for instance, not bathing them or rotating them if they can’t move), bed sores are far more likely to arise. If you notice bed sores on your loved one, take this sign seriously, and ask staff about when these developed and what is being done to treat them.
- Your loved one seeming especially quiet or afraid around a certain person – Showing signs of anxiety or clamming up when a specific person is around can be a telltale sign of nursing home abuse. If your loved one is otherwise talkative or animated when you are around and then suddenly shuts down when another specific person enters the room, be suspicious and start asking questions about the relationship between your loved one and that other person.
- Your loved one losing a lot of weight in a short period of time – Although some residents may have medical conditions or illnesses that can cause them to lose weight, you should be concerned about the possibility of nursing home abuse and neglect when your loved one drops a lot of weight in a short period of time and there is no medical explanation for this phenomenon. Substantial weight loss can indicate that someone has:
◦ Been sexually, physically or emotionally abused and is manifesting that trauma through a loss of interest in food (among other things)
◦ Been neglected in nursing homes because, for instance, staff are failing to help feed residents (particularly those who have impairments that prevent them from being able to feed themselves).
The Denver Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Cristiano Law, LLC Are Ready to Fight for You
If you recognize any of the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, it’s time to contact the Denver nursing home abuse attorneys at Cristiano Law, LLC. Our trusted lawyers are ready to put their experience and resources to work for you.
For more than 33 years, our attorneys have been firmly dedicated to providing people who have been hurt by the careless, indifferent or deceitful actions of others the highest quality of legal services. They can always be counted on to:
- Defend our clients’ rights
- Provide them with personalized attention
- Provide them with honest answers about their case
- Work diligently to help them obtain the best possible resolutions to their important legal matters.
Learn More during an Initial Consult
To learn more about your rights and options, attend an initial consult with one of our Denver nursing home abuse lawyers. In most cases, these initial consultations are free, and we can get a case started at no cost to our clients. Set up a meeting with one of our attorneys by calling us at (303) 407-1777 or emailing us using the form on this page.
Evening and weekend appointments are available for your convenience, and our attorneys can commute to your city or town to meet you to ensure that you get the legal help you need wherever you may need it.