Family Members of Nursing Home Patients Urged to Look for Potential Signs of Abuse
Elder abuse can take many forms including, physical injuries, sexual abuse, emotional mistreatment, and financial exploitation. Nursing home neglect is another form of elder abuse. In some instances of neglect, residents do not get proper food. In others, nursing home patients do not get the right medical treatment.
Statistics on the rate of nursing home abuse incidents are few and far between. Oftentimes when nursing home residents are abused, they do not report it out of shame, fear of retaliation, or because they cannot clearly communicate what is happening. The National Center on Elder Abuse states that several studies have indicated between three and five percent of the elderly population has suffered abuse and only about 16 percent of cases are actually identified. The estimated rate of elder abuse has risen steadily over the last decade.
It can be difficult to identify nursing home abuse. There are several warning signs that may indicate a nursing home resident is being abused. These include:
- Unidentified or unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, or broken bones
- Recurring injuries
- Signs of malnutrition
- Sudden changes in personality
- Withdrawal from loved ones
- Caregivers that will not leave patients alone with family members
- Unattended medical needs
- Unusual or excessive weight loss
- Pressure sores