Question for Attorney Carbone: I Think My Loved One Living in a Nursing Home is Being Abused. How Can I Tell?
Question: My wife’s mother has gone downhill after losing her husband of 50 years. We decided to put her in a nursing home for her safety and so she can get some social interaction with others. It’s been about two months now and we’ve noticed some odd things. She doesn’t seem as talkative as she once was and she seems fearful. The other day, my daughter had noticed large bruises on my mother-in-law’s arms, like someone had grabbed her arms tightly. My mother-in-law swears that she fell, causing the bruising but my wife thinks she may be experiencing abuse. How can we know for sure? Is there anything we can do?
Answer: We’re sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. But what you have told us, it does sound like nursing home abuse and you may want to take legal action against the nursing home. Before we continue, however, let’s examine the warning signs of nursing home abuse. There are three types of abuse to look out for — physical, emotional, and sexual.
Physical abuse is probably the easiest to recognize. Common signs are broken bones, bruising, bed sores, and infections. It can also include shaking and slapping; however, these may not leave clear indications. These signs may be played off by the staff as your elderly loved one being clumsy or losing balance.
Then there’s emotional abuse. As you explained in your question, your mother-in-law has become fearful and her personality has changed. This may be a sign of nursing home abuse. Other signs include unusual behavior, confusion, low self-esteem, depression, and withdrawing from others.
It’s a sad fact that sexual abuse occurs in nursing homes. According to a recent article from CNN, more than 1,000 nursing homes across the nation have been cited for mishandling suspected cases of sex abuse. Some common signs include torn or stained clothes, an unexplained venereal disease, and genital infections.
There is also nursing home neglect which has its own signs such as poor hygiene, being over or under medicated, unsanitary conditions, inadequate medical attention, dehydration, or malnourishment.
If you feel that your loved one is being abused or neglected, the best option is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about the matter. Not only can a nursing home lawyer hold the home accountable for the abuse, but you and your loved one will be compensated for the pain and suffering.
If you have seen signs of nursing home abuse on your loved one, act now. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.