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Important facts about nursing home abuse and its signs

One of the most difficult decisions Floridians have to make is when to place an elderly or infirm loved one in a nursing care facility. There can be a number of reasons for this ranging from practical to financial. The care at the facility is expected to adhere to the proper standards. Unfortunately, some facilities do not care for the patients and residents properly and elder abuse, nursing home neglect and other transgressions can occur. Knowing how to recognize this and what to do is important to put a stop to it.

There are various forms of elder abuse including physical, emotional, sexual, and exploitative. When this happens at a facility, it is especially egregious because the staff is mandated to care for the person. Inflicting pain or injury on the person is physical abuse. Anything that can be deemed sexual in nature from inappropriate and unapproved touching to exposing of genitalia can be considered sexual abuse. Emotional abuse includes threats, verbal attacks, harassing or intimidating the person. Other potential abusive acts including confining the person, not providing the person with what he or she needs, deprivation of medical necessities and the basics such as shelter and food, and financially exploiting the person by stealing or misusing their property.

The statistics of elder abuse and the abuse of those in nursing facilities are often limited to the reports and discoveries of it occurring. An estimated one out of ten people in the U.S. over the age of 60 has been subjected to some from of abuse. Approximately one out of 14 is believed to be reported, so it could be a much higher number. Knowing the warning signs can help to identify and stop the abuse. Unexplained nursing home bruising, pressure marks, broken bones, burns and abrasions are signs of physical abuse. A person who is not acting as he or she normally does, seems withdrawn, depressed or tense could be a sign of emotional abuse. Sudden differences in the financial situation can be a sign of financial abuse. A bedsore, poor adherence to hygiene, and rapid weight loss could indicate neglect.

These types of abusive behaviors can lead to health problems and even death. Families who have a loved one who is being abused might not want to admit it to themselves, but it is imperative to recognize the signs and take action. Speaking to an attorney about a case of nursing home abuse can help to deal with it and pursue compensation for what happened.

Source: ncoa.org, "Elder Abuse Facts," accessed on Sept. 27, 2016

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