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How can loved ones spot nursing home abuse?

This blog often discusses nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse and how to file a lawsuit in an attempt to hold negligent and abusive individuals accountable. Yet, how do you know if nursing home abuse is occurring?

Many Floridians are hesitant to make allegations of abuse, afraid of confrontation and the possibility of making false allegations. However, there are certain signs that these individuals can rely on to help determine whether or not their loved ones have been subjected to nursing home abuse.

There are obvious signs, like unexplained cuts and bruises, but some signs are more subtle and require a close attention to detail. For example, an elderly individual who is withdrawn and fearful could be behaving this way because he or she has been struck by nursing home staff. Likewise, those who have been abused may be depressed and afraid to talk about what has been going on. An unkempt appearance, bed sores, confinement and odd explanations for injuries could also be signs of abuse.

Just as you should look at your loved one for signs of abuse, you should also keep an eye on staff and their interactions to determine if they have been abusing your loved one. Again, there may be obvious signs that a staff member is abusive, such as verbally assaulting residents or threatening their well-being, but other signs might be harder to catch. For example, a staff member may not allow a resident to speak for himself or herself, indicating that the staff member is afraid of what will be said. Additionally, an abusive nursing home employee may blame the elderly resident for any harm that has come to him or her.

Nursing home abuse is a serious matter and should never be taken lightly. By being observant of the situation you may be able to spot abuse and stop it before it gets worse. Those who suspect that a loved one has been injured due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home may want to consult with an attorney with experience in nursing home abuse cases.

Source: University of Illinois Extension, "Warning Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect," accessed on Aug. 3, 2014

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