Millions of Americans live in nursing homes. Some of these facilities do a great job of caring for their residents. Unfortunately, however, many don’t. In fact, abuse and neglect in these facilities are rampant. Therefore, if you have a loved one who resides in a nursing home, you must know how to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect. In this article, we examine four signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Defining Abuse and Neglect
Although nursing home abuse and neglect are related, they are slightly different things. Specifically, abuse can refer to any of the following:
- The intentional infliction of injury
- Unreasonable confinement
- Depravation of service or care
- Punishment resulting in pain, physical harm, or mental anguish
Neglect, on the other hand, is a failure, whether intentional or unintentional, to provide a nursing home resident with the services and care necessary to ensure freedom from pain or harm. In addition, neglect can encompass the failure of nursing home staff to react appropriately to a potentially dangerous situation involving a resident.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The following are four common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect:
1. Frequent falls
People tend to develop mobility problems as they age, and this can lead to slips and falls. However, due to this tendency, nursing homes must take steps to closely monitor residents and prevent falls from occurring. When a nursing home resident experiences frequent falls, this is often a sign that the nursing home isn’t doing what is necessary to protect its residents.
2. Malnutrition and dehydration
Dehydration occurs when the body’s functions are disrupted due to a lack of water. Unfortunately, dehydration is a common problem in nursing homes, and it is a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. Chronic dehydration in the elderly can lead to brain swelling, kidney failure, seizures, and even comas. Malnutrition, which occurs when the body lacks the necessary nutrients, is another common sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. Malnutrition can result in weight loss, bedsores, fatigue, weakness, white fingernails, and yellowing skin.
3. Fractures and bruises
Fractures and bruises are other common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Fractures can result from falls, as discussed above, or they can indicate physical abuse by nursing home employees. Although bruises are somewhat common among nursing home patients, certain types of bruises can indicate abuse, such as those that appear on a nursing home resident’s ankles or wrists.
Finally, bedsores can develop when nursing home employees fail to rotate residents who spend most of their time in bed or a chair. Bedsores, which are a type of skin wound, usually appear on the back, hips, buttocks, and ankles. Bedsores are a sign of nursing home neglect because employees are required to periodically rotate elderly patients who can’t do so themselves.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in the state of New York, our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help. When you come to us for help with your nursing home abuse case, our Long Island nursing home abuse lawyers will work diligently to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.