Checking For The Warning Signs of Nursing Abuse and Neglect

When our loved ones require medical care, we want them to be safe. No one wants to consider the idea that their loved ones may be suffering abuse at the hands of their nurse. Yet millions of people staying in nursing homes and hospitals throughout the United States suffer from abuse and neglect at the hands of their nurses.

In order to spot these problems before they get severe enough to cause long-term harm, it’s important to know the warning signs of nursing abuse and neglect.

The Difference Between Abuse and Neglect

While abuse and neglect both cause long-term damage, they’re not the same thing. Abuse is active harm caused with intent. Neglect is passive and causes harm without any particular intention to do so.

As an example, it’s occasionally necessary to restrain a patient. There are laws involving how this is to be done, and breaking those laws is considered abuse. This is because it’s a direct action that causes immediate harm, either through physical damage from the restraints or the use of sedation that hasn’t been approved by a doctor.

However, if a nurse was to simply leave a patient alone in their room, it could be neglect. It’s not necessarily neglect, depending on the mobility of the patient. However, if the patient has mobility problems and is simply left alone, then they are being neglected and will have health and wellness issues over time.

Looking For Signs

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to notice the warning signs. The most immediate sign is failing health or regular injuries. Patients will sometimes get injured through the course of proper care. Sometimes it’s necessary to restrain them more forcefully, or some days their mobility may not be as stable as it is on other days.

But regular signs of injury, and injuries not consistent with the information given, is often a sign of abuse.

In addition, major personality changes can often be a sign of inappropriate medications. Hospitals and nursing homes will often sedate patients when necessary, but it becomes abuse when it’s done outside of strict regulations.

Lastly, if you have a hard time getting information that you should legally be allowed to have, that’s often a warning sign. Sometimes this is simply a matter of bureaucracy or training. However, if it happens consistently then you should begin asking more questions and going over people’s heads.

In a general sense, the warning signs of nursing abuse and neglect are the same as any other style of abuse and neglect. Document any situation that makes you worry, writing down the exact thing that made you question, the date and time you asked about it, and what resolution was reached. That way, if you notice your loved ones being poorly treated you’re able to do something about it.

How To Detect Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, you want to assume that they are going to be safe and taken care of properly. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Nursing home abuse is on the rise and you need to know what to look for and what steps to take if your loved one is being abused.

Nursing home abuse can happen on many levels, from simple neglect, to intentional killing. It is important to ask your loved ones about the treatment they are receiving and if they can’t speak, you should examine them each time you visit. One of the things you want to look for is bedsores or bruises. This might mean that your loved one is not being moved during the day or that your loved one is being hit or treated roughly.

You also want to find out of your loved one is getting all their medication on time or if they are being overmedicated to keep them quiet. A huge red flag is if your loved one suffers a serious injury while in the nursing home. This might mean that they were pushed or injured by one of the staff members.

Check to see if your loved one is losing weight or if they seem dehydrated. This could indicate that they are not being fed enough or that they are not getting enough water. Sometimes your loved one seems fine when they enter the nursing home, but they experience a sudden and rapid decline in health after being there a short time. This is often a sign of abuse.

If your loved one tells you they are being abused, listen to them. Physical abuse is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse and the patients are often hit or shaken. Some residents are even sexually abused. Sometimes the abuse is verbal and patients are often humiliated or degraded by the staff. The worst type of abuse is death and if your loved one dies in a suspicious manner, abuse could be involved.

If you think your loved one is being abused by the nursing home, it is important to get a nursing home abuse lawyer right away. Your loved one’s life is at stake and you can’t wait to act. Don’t let your loved one be hurt by the nursing home staff.