Nursing home neglect and abuse is a prevalent problem, including in Virginia. Caregivers aren’t always the ones doing the abuse either. Sometimes, it’s a fellow resident in the nursing home who’s the abuser.
Physical abuse and neglect
Pinching, shoving, scratching, slapping and restraining a person against their will count as physical abuse. Locking them in their room and depriving them of basic necessities is also physical abuse.
Neglect is when the caretaker indirectly causes bodily harm by not keeping up with their responsibilities. It’s possible for a case to involve both abuse and neglect. Either way, you could have a personal injury case if this is going on.
Saying hurtful words to someone and yelling at them is emotional abuse. If the caretaker repeatedly ignores your elderly loved one or prevents them from seeing friends and family, it is also emotional abuse.
Financial abuse of the elderly includes stealing their money, forging checks, stealing their belongings and taking their retirement or social security benefits. In some situations, a financial abuser may change names in a will, life insurance policy, title to the house, or any other financial document.
Dishonest healthcare workers might bill twice for the same service, overcharge, charge for a service that the elderly person didn’t receive or make false Medicare claims. You should regularly go over financial statements with your loved ones to ensure everything is accurate.
Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect
There are a lot of possible warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect that you should watch for. Changes in your loved one’s personality, such as no longer engaging in activities they once enjoyed, being irritable or being violent, may mean that something bad is going on when you’re not around. Some older adults may rock themselves back and forth as a trauma response.
If their hair is messy or they otherwise look unkempt, then the caretaker is probably neglecting them. Check the environment around them too as it should be clean. If the caretakers aren’t keeping the room clean, then they are likely engaging in other neglectful or abusive activities too.
Other red flags:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or scars
- Missing medical aids like dentures, eyeglasses and medications
- Unusual weight loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Broken eyeglasses or other belongings
It’s important to know the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse to protect your loved ones. Be careful of brushing these red flags off as old age behavioral changes or an accidental bruise.