Nursing home abuse comes in many different forms. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a healthcare worker who takes advantage of an elderly person by stealing from them or otherwise exploiting their wealth. In other cases, it comes in the form of a nursing home worker who is one type of sadist or another and who vents on the patients who are the most isolated an unable to fight back. Some nursing home facilities are simply negligent and give medication incorrectly or over-medicate patients to keep them from being a problem. There’s no reason that any elder, or their family, should have to tolerate this.
Identifying abuse can be difficult, but there are some signs to look for. They include both physical and mental signs of abuse. Physically, bruises are the most common signs. These will usually be seen on the arms, wrists, shoulders and neck and come from being shoved around as part of bullying or simply because a caregiver is negligent in helping their patient get around safely. In some cases, the signs of sexual abuse may be present but they’re oftentimes not discovered until a doctor has a look at the patient.
Psychologically, abuse can be devastating to elders. They may seem temperamental and withdrawn, which is sometimes a defense mechanism that people use to cover up their pain. They may also become very depressed, as they believe that there’s no way for them to stop the abuse. Of course, the latter part isn’t true. The abuse can be stopped and it has to be stopped. This can be done by the authorities or, if it’s a homecare situation, by simply firing the offending worker or company and looking for others while you consider your options. You do have legal options to consider.
If you discover abuse, it’s good to have a doctor document the indications that it went on. They’ll know how to make sure that everything is documented up to the highest standards and to make sure that none of the signs are missed. They’ll also be able to determine if treatments need to be changed due to negligent healthcare practices on the part of the abuser. The abused may need different medications, for instance, or to be cared for in a more intensive environment while the damage from the abuse heals.
After it’s all said and done, talk to a lawyer. There is a chance that you can sue the offending agency for the damage they allowed to occur on their watch. There are sometimes limitations on how long you can wait before filing one of these cases, of course. Talking to a lawyer right away will let you know how long you have to consider the matter. You can oftentimes meet with one for free to give them the basics of your claim and they can let you know whether or not it’s worth pursuing the matter via a lawsuit. The most important thing, however, is that the abuse is stopped.