Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes exercise a tremendous amount of control over their residents, since their elderly residents often rely on such a high level of care. Nursing homes therefore have a unique responsibility to their residents, and their duty of care is perhaps greater than almost any other in our legal system. When an elderly resident suffers from nursing home abuse or neglect, we are rightfully outraged. Recognizing the signs that abuse or neglect are occurring is not easy, however, as the warning signs are not always immediately identifiable as such. Our Florida nursing home injury lawyers can help you recognize signs of abuse or neglect and take action.

Sudden, unexplained changes in behavior: Family members of a resident may notice abrupt changes in their loved one’s demeanor. If the changes cannot be explained by the resident’s medical condition or treatment, it could be a sign of some form of abuse. Many forms of psychological or emotional abuse against the elderly can cause drastic changes in behavior, ranging from lashing out to withdrawal. Family members should consult with the treating physician if they notice significant behavioral changes.

Unexpected changes to a patient’s will, bank account, or other important documents: It is unfortunately not all that uncommon for a nursing home staffer, or even a fellow resident, to attempt undue influence to get a resident to change provisions of a will, a power of attorney, or other legal instruments. The law strictly governs how such documents are drafted and modified. Sudden changes to any of these types of documents are a big red flag that a patient is subject to abuse, coercion, duress, or other influence.

Unexplained cuts and bruises: Accidents and mishaps can always happen, but sudden cuts and bruises, especially if no one seems to have an explanation for how they occurred, could be a signal of something more serious. It could indicate that a resident is not receiving adequate supervision and is getting hurt, or it could even indicate abuse by others in the nursing home. Recurring injuries are a particular concern.

Bedsores: Bedsores result from unrelieved pressure or friction, often the result of lying in one position for a long period of time. They frequently occur in elderly patients who require assistance turning or rolling over in bed. If left untreated, they can be debilitating and even fatal. Bedsores can signify that a nursing home resident is not receiving adequate care and attention.

Interference by staff with patient visits: Nursing home patients have a legally guaranteed right to socialize with other residents and with family members and other visitors. Attempts by staff to unreasonably interfere with a patient’s attempts to socialize is a warning sign of abuse or other undue influence. The interference could itself be a form of emotional abuse, or it could be an attempt to hide other signs of abuse and neglect.

Overmedication: Nursing home patients should have a consistent treatment plan, and should have the ability to consult with their doctor about their treatment to the extent they are able. They should never receive more medication than is medically necessary. Overmedication of a patient can also be a form of abuse in and of itself, or it could hide other forms of abuse.

The Deerfield Beach injury attorneys at Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. have extensive experience helping to recover damages for people who have been injured due to nursing home abuse and neglect. Contact the firm online or at 954-428-9333 for a free and confidential consultation.

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