Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs


Published: 01/15/2012


Although the majority of nursing homes provide good quality care to their patients, nursing home abuse is shockingly common. Although there are no national figures to report at this time some experts attest that for every case of nursing home abuse that gets reported or detected approximately five more go unreported. There are also recent studies that indicate there are between one and two million Americans which are age 65 or older that have been neglected or abused either physically, emotionally or financially by a nursing home, care taker, family member or friend which they depended on for their care and well being. Investigators have determined that only 1 in 14 of the reported incidents ever is brought to the attention of any public authorities. These horrific facts are very sad and disappointing statistics of how we in the United States are caring for our elderly and/or infirmed.


I assure you that the Senior Care Society is not trying to frighten you, especially if you are about to or have already made the momentous decision to place the care of your loved one in a nursing home. But rather we would like to give you the important information we will list below to enable you to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse in order to prevent your loved one from becoming a statistic or placing them in a nursing home that potentially may have elder care abuse going on.

                                    TYPES OF ABUSE THAT CAN OCCUR


  • Physical Abuse: Obvious signs of physical abuse such as bruises, bumps, swelling of face or other body parts, burns, cuts, scratches in hard to reach or unusual places. Injuries that is unexplainable. (for example a bedridden patient with a sprained ankle)
  • Emotional Abuse: Either verbal or psychological ( threatening or mentally abusing a patient)
  • Neglect: Failure to provide physical, emotional or medical attention or proper care of the patient’s surroundings.
  • Self Inflicted Abuse Neglect: Failure of the nursing home to prevent self inflicted abuse or intervention.
  • Sexual Abuse: Abuse that is caused by health care providers or other residents.
  • Financial Exploitation
  • Health Care Fraud or Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance Fraud


                                    SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS TO LOOK FOR

Most instances of nursing home abuse can readily be seen by the patient’s observant family members, just by trusting your instincts and simply using good common sense. Signs such as unexplained, frequent or recurring injuries should always send a warning signal. Sudden onset of abnormal fears, phobias or new religious beliefs may be an indicator of emotional abuse. Complaints from the care receiver as to their safety from caregivers or other residents should always be taken seriously and may be a sign of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Signs of over or under medication may be indicators of neglect or abuse such as a patient seeming in a dazed state or in pain when medication has been prescribed to alleviate it. Dirty or unsanitary conditions of your loved one’s grooming, bathing, linens, bed, clothes or surroundings are signs of neglect and abuse.

There are signs of abuse which are easy to spot and some forms of abuse that are more difficult to determine, but a family member should never be afraid to question the staff of the health care provider unless they feel the life of their loved one may be in danger. If you feel there may be eminent danger you should call your local police and wait with your loved one until they arrive. Any instances of abuse should be reported to the nursing home administrator and a complaint filed with the local and state authorities, this should be done in the case of abuse of your loved one or that of another resident you happen to witness being a victim of.

Abuse of the elderly or infirmed is a heinous crime and should be reported immediately to the local police authorities or abuse hotline, it is not only your moral obligation, but may also be considered your legal obligation as well. For more detailed information on how, when and where to report nursing home abuses please visit our web site for a directory