6 Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse and How to Recognize Them

6 Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse and How to Recognize Them

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s crucial to monitor their safety and well-being. Many families choose a nursing home for their loved ones after it’s no longer safe for them to stay at home. However, nursing home abuse is a serious concern that can compromise their safety.

Knowing the different types of nursing home abuse can help you recognize it sooner, helping to keep your loved one safe. Here are the six types of nursing home abuse you should be familiar with:

1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is what most people think of when they hear the word “abuse.” It includes hitting, shoving, pushing, or kicking. Physical abuse often leads to visible injuries such as cuts, broken bones, bruises, or sprains. Signs to watch for include unexplained injuries, frequent visits to the hospital, or sudden changes in behavior.

2. Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse, though it is often harder to identify due to the lack of physical signs. This type of abuse includes insults, verbal assaults, threats, or intimidation. Victims of emotional abuse may exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, withdrawal, or fearfulness around certain caregivers.

3. Neglect

Neglect occurs when a nursing home’s staff fails to provide residents with their basic needs, including food, water, medical care, or shelter. Neglect can lead to severe health issues, malnutrition, dehydration, or worsening of medical conditions. Look for signs like poor personal hygiene, sudden weight loss, or unattended medical needs.

4. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves any non-consensual sexual contact. This is particularly concerning in nursing homes, as many residents are not able to give legal consent due to cognitive impairments. Signs of sexual abuse include unexplained bruises, torn clothing, or a sudden fear of being alone with certain staff members.

5. Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is the mismanagement or intentional misuse of a resident’s funds. This can include unauthorized use of a resident’s signature, stealing their possessions, or manipulating them into giving away money. Families might notice unusual bank account activity, missing belongings, or sudden changes in financial documents.

6. Abandonment

Abandonment occurs when a caregiver or responsible person leaves a resident unattended and fails to meet their needs. This may happen if a caregiver leaves a resident at a public place like a shopping center or medical facility without arranging proper care. Signs of abandonment include residents being found alone in inappropriate locations or a general lack of supervision.

Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Some types of nursing home abuse are easier to identify than others. Many seniors also have co-occurring medical conditions, including dementia, which may lead some to dismiss the signs of elderly abuse. Knowing the types and signs of nursing home abuse can help you identify wrongdoing faster.

  • Signs of Physical Abuse: Look for unexplained injuries, frequent hospital visits, or signs of restraint. Physical abuse often manifests through visible injuries that cannot be easily explained.
  • Signs of Emotional Abuse: Notice changes in behavior such as depression, withdrawal, or fearfulness. Emotional abuse can be subtle but is evident through significant behavioral changes.
  • Signs of Neglect: Be aware of poor hygiene, sudden weight loss, and unattended medical needs. Neglect often leads to a decline in health and personal care standards.
  • Signs of Sexual Abuse: Watch for unexplained bruises, torn clothing, and fear of certain caregivers. Sexual abuse can be difficult to identify, especially if your loved one cannot express themselves, but physical signs and changes in behavior are key indicators.
  • Signs of Financial Abuse: Check for unusual financial activity, missing belongings, and changes in financial documents. Families may not discover financial abuse until significant amounts of money have been taken.
  • Signs of Abandonment: Observe if residents are found alone in unsafe locations or if there’s a lack of proper supervision. Abandonment may be hard to identify if your loved one cannot recount events, but evident signs include being left in inappropriate places without care.

Taking Action Against Nursing Home Abuse

If you believe your loved one is the victim of any type of nursing home abuse, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Document Evidence: Take notes, photos, and gather any evidence of the abuse or neglect. This documentation will be essential when reporting the abuse and seeking legal assistance.
  • Report to Authorities: Notify the nursing home administration and file a report with the New Jersey Department of Health. Reporting the abuse ensures that the situation is investigated and that corrective actions are taken.
  • Consult an Attorney: Consider hiring a lawyer to help recover the costs associated with nursing home abuse and to ensure justice for your loved one. Legal professionals specializing in elder abuse can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf.

Contact an East Orange Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today

Seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Nursing home staff must ensure that patients are safe and secure at all times. If your loved one suffered an injury or worse due to nursing home negligence or abuse in New Jersey, you need to speak with a qualified attorney.

The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Sugarman Law represents clients throughout New Jersey, including Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, and Elizabeth. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today. We have offices conveniently located at 80 East Main Street, Somerville, NJ 08876, and in Marlton, NJ.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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