Many nursing home residents have limited abilities to communicate. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to count on them telling someone if they are suffering from abuse or neglect. It is important for anyone who knows an elderly person or younger person with a serious injury or illness living in a nursing home to be aware of the symptoms of nursing home negligence or abuse.
Always be alert during your visits to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Pay attention to everyone and everything around you and your loved one while you are there. Be aware of the “3S’s” sights, sounds and smokes. Do the facility and employees look clean and professional? Are there patients requesting assistance with none given? Does the facility smell clean and well maintained.
There are many signs of physical, emotional or mental abuse and neglect. It is important for every individual to pay attention, be aware and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
The most common forms of physical abuse against the elderly are:
- Elder reports being slapped or mistreated
- Forcing an older person to stay in their room
- Giving too much medication
- Not giving needed medication
- Open wounds, cuts, bruises or welts
- Prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Slapping, pushing, shaking or beating
- Unexplained injuries
- Unreasonable physical restraint
- Use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication not authorized by a physician
Verbal and Emotional Abuse
Any situation that is harmful to the elderly person’s self-esteem constitutes verbal and emotional abuse. If your loved one or someone else you know residing in a nursing home begins to show any of the following signs, you should be concerned that there may be abuse taking place. These signs include emotional agitation or upset, withdrawing or becoming non-communicative, unusual behavior, preferring to be isolated from others and unexplained abusive behavior towards other family members and friends.
Signs of Neglect
Nursing home residents may also be suffering from neglect. Be sure you are paying close attention to possible signs of neglect as well. Some common signs of neglect include:
- Poor personal hygiene and physical appearance
- Unsatisfactory food, clothing or shelter
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions in the nursing home
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Finding the resident in urine or feces
- Neglected existing medical conditions
- Health or safety hazards in the residential home
- Lack of sufficient access to medical services
There are many signs of physical, verbal and mental abuse in nursing homes. Visitors of the residents should take it upon themselves to pay close attention when they are on the premises. Any suspicious situations should be reported immediately to the charge nurse or Director of Nursing. If the situation is not remedied, ask to speak to the Administrator. If the situation is still not remedied, the Florida Department of Children and Families has a toll free number to report abuse or neglect.
If you suspect any abuse or neglect is happening in a nursing home, it is your responsibility to report it so that the proper authorities can step in and investigate the matter. To learn more about nursing home abuse in Jacksonville, or anywhere else in Florida, please contact the nursing home negligence lawyers of Hardesty, Tyde, Green and Ashton, P.A..
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