When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you do so trustingly that the staff will care for them. This does not always happen. Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect are relatively common problems.
You need to guard against your loved one being a victim of such mistreatment by monitoring their condition for signs of abuse and neglect. Subtle ones that you may overlook include the following:
It’s important to remember that numerous potential factors can contribute to some of the physical, mental, and emotional changes you may observe in a loved one after moving them into a nursing home. You need to strike a delicate balance between monitoring them for signs of abuse without immediately jumping to the conclusion that abuse has been committed the moment you notice anything that may arouse your suspicions.
That said, a common sign of nursing home abuse is a marked change in the personality or demeanor of a loved one. Although they may become depressed or withdrawn simply because adjusting to life in a nursing home is generally a difficult experience for many older people, it’s also possible a loved one has become depressed because they are being abused. If you do notice this type of change in their personality or mood, ask them about what’s bothering them, keep an eye out for other signs of abuse, and consider visiting them as often as possible so any additional warning signs are spotted early.
Sudden weight changes often indicate nursing home neglect is occurring.
You may already know you should be concerned if a loved one has lost a noticeable amount of weight during their time at a nursing home. That said, you should also pay attention to whether they appear to have suddenly put back on a significant amount of weight.
Sometimes, when a nursing home resident has been neglected, staff members will try to conceal the neglect by quickly resuming a proper feeding schedule in the hopes that they can bring a resident back to their healthy weight before any family members become concerned. Thus, any weight fluctuations, even seemingly beneficial ones, should be considered potential red flags.
Pay close attention to the way your loved one behaves when they are alone with you and the way they behave when staff members are present. It is not uncommon for the victims of nursing home abuse to become reluctant to speak when in the presence of staff members who may be abusing them or allowing them to be abused. If there are any indications that your loved one is fearful around staff members, there is likely a reason they feel this way.
You should, of course, also monitor your family member for obvious signs of abuse and neglect, such as frequent injuries, bedsores, and other warning signs.
Document every piece of potential evidence you become aware of, interview witnesses, and do your best to remove your loved one from a potentially unsafe environment as soon as possible if you have a genuine reason to suspect abuse is occurring.
Hopefully, you will never have to worry about a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse. However, if this ever does occur, our team of Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., can help you hold the abusive and negligent parties accountable. Contact us online or call us at 215-929-7216 to schedule a free consultation.