Nursing home abuse can be either physical or emotional. Sometimes, spotting the signs of a problem can be challenging, because they can mimic the natural aging process or the victims will not openly share the details of their experience. If you have a loved one in care, it is vital that you learn the signs of neglect and abuse.
Physical abuse can encompass many things. Obvious problems, like violent actions, can cause unexplained injuries, broken bones, or other physical suffering. Neglect can also be a form of physical abuse leading to bed sores and malnutrition, among other physical problems. Signs to look for include:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or abrasions
- Unexplained, sudden weight changes
- Poor hygiene
- Frequent infections
- Hair loss
- Torn or stained clothing or bedding
Emotional abuse can be just as damaging, but far more difficult to pinpoint. Emotional abuse may include ignoring an individual, using threatening or harsh language, or manipulating the individual emotionally. Theft of personal items or money can also encompass this form of abuse. Signs of this type of abuse may include:
- Strange or childlike behaviors
- Unresponsiveness that is not attributed to a medical condition
- Unusual financial transactions the individual has no knowledge of
- Loss of personal items
If you notice these signs in someone you care about, you need to get professional and legal help. Nursing home care providers have a legal responsibility to care for the people they work with, both physically and emotionally. If they are not fulfilling this responsibility, you have the right and responsibility to take legal action to protect your loved one.