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3 warning signs of abuse in a nursing home

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2023 | Nursing Home Abuse |

Older adults in nursing homes are at risk of abuse in part because they are not in a position to advocate for themselves. Some of them may have cognitive issues that make them particularly vulnerable and even childlike in their dependence on their professional caregivers.

When the people tasked with supporting those living in nursing homes are overworked and/or resent their jobs and the people in their care, they may engage in abusive conduct. Family members are often the last line of defense for those in nursing homes and may be able to intervene and stop abuse when they realize what their loved one has endured. These are some of the warning signs of abuse that people should watch for when their family member lives in a nursing home.

Sudden changes in behavior or personality

Abuse tends to change people. They often become depressed and withdrawn. They may cease engaging in activities they previously enjoyed, struggle to sleep or decline food. They may be withdrawn or resentful during visits when they used to be gregarious and happy to see family members. A sudden change in behavior and personality can be a warning sign that someone has experienced trauma at the nursing home where they live.

Hovering staff members

Most nursing homes have a deficit of employees on hand, meaning they never have quite enough support given the needs of their residents. Beyond the pressure on the time of the employees at nursing homes, there is also the privacy and relationships of the residents to consider. Workers should generally give family members an opportunity to meet privately with a loved one. An absolute refusal to give one on one time with a resident can be a warning sign that staff members don’t want the family to hear something that the older adult has to say.

Unexplained injuries or outright accusations

Some older adults will assert themselves every time they see their families because they know they need help. Even if someone has historically had a penchant for exaggeration or falsehoods, family members will likely want to look carefully into claims that staff members have abused someone in a nursing home. Additionally, looking into a loved one’s injuries might be necessary if they have broken bones, bruises or other wounds that seem to indicate they may have endured mistreatment.

Those who uncover signs of nursing home abuse can push for changes at a facility and potentially file a legal claim on behalf of their loved one. Spotting the warning signs of nursing home abuse is a very important first step for those who are concerned about the well-being of a loved one.