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How to spot potential nursing home abuse and neglect

Nursing homes are integral parts of health care for senior citizens who are unable to fully care for themselves, as their families often have employment and lifestyles that keep them from taking on full responsibility. It is a serious and harmful breach of trust if nursing home staff do not properly care for residents.

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are often considered a well-hidden problem, due to the social isolation and occasional mental issues experienced by elders in these facilities. However, experts have identified warning signs for which family and friends can look out.

Marked emotional or physical changes, especially after the initial phases of moving into a nursing home, may be a sign of abuse. Withdrawn and uncommunicative residents with no other symptoms may be attempting to recover for an incident or pattern of mistreatment.

Concerns among residents and visitors about specific nursing home employees, such as a statement that a patient does not want a certain person to touch or care for them, may occur after an assault or other unpleasant experience. Any sign of dehydration or malnutrition is a sign of substandard care at the very least.

Unanswered questions about injuries or illness in nursing homes, as well as frantic or disorganized staff, are also possible signs of abuse or neglect. It is important to remember that these are potential warning signs, not proof of misconduct or harm. An attorney may help victims and their families identify proof and other evidence to fight nursing home abuse.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "9 Warning Signs of Bad Care," Kurtis Hiatt, accessed Dec. 06, 2017

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