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Tips for detecting nursing home abuse

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, you may have concerns about his or her well-being, since you are not able to monitor your loved one's care on a daily basis. You trust the nursing home to take good care of your mother or father, but, unfortunately, not all nursing homes perform their duties adequately, and some are actually negligent.

There are certain signs of nursing home abuse that you should be aware of, so that if this unfortunate occurrence happens in your loved one's situation, you are prepared to handle it. Even better, if you keep a vigilant eye out for detecting nursing home abuse at all times, you can help prevent further abuses from taking place.

Defining abuse and neglect

Elderly abuse and neglect are both forms of maltreatment, but they are not the same. Abuse is a deliberate action intended to inflict harm, pain, mental anguish or intimidation. Neglect may or may not be intentional. It is the failure to provide services that are needed to avoid harm.

Signs of abuse and neglect

Some types of abuse are more evident than others. For example, if you see an injury and there is no sufficient explanation, this may be a sign of abuse. Neglect can show up when there is improper care devoted to hygiene (such as unclean or soiled clothing or bedsheets) or basic nursing home care such neglecting to move a patient in bed, which can result in bedsores.

Sometimes, you may note a certain psychological or physical reaction to a particular staff member. If your loved one becomes agitated, nervous or scared in the presence of someone who works at the nursing home, it may be a sign that that person is committing abuse or neglect. 

Keep in mind that there may be good and valid explanations for injuries, and not all signs are necessarily evidence of abuse or neglect. However, vigilance on your part is necessary, because some of the signs are so subtle that the average person may easily miss them.

Spotting signs of abuse and neglect early ensures that you can take action to stop any potential abuse from reoccurring. If you have suspicions and need assistance investigating them, or if you need additional information about how to proceed, you should seek the legal advice of an attorney with experience in nursing home abuse cases.

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