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Five Ways to Know a Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse

When we place our loved ones in the care of a nursing home, we trust that our parents, grandparents, or other family members will be well-cared for, despite the fact that we place their well-being in the hands of strangers.

One would assume that the experience and professionalism of nursing homes would provide a level of round-the-clock care that exceeds one’s own abilities to look after an aging relative, and most of the time, that is the case.

However, there have been a growing number of nursing home abuse cases in New York and across the country that have left many families worried or skeptical about the care their loved ones are receiving.

Suspecting that an elder relative has been the victim of nursing home abuse can cause a great deal of frustration, anxiety, and confusion, and it can be difficult to know who to turn to and what steps to take next.

The most important first step, however, is to move beyond suspicion and try to establish whether or not abuse is taking place in a nursing home. Although nursing home abuse can take many different forms, and all of them are an inexcusable violation of the trust we placed in their hands, there are a number of tell-tale signs that something is amiss.

1) Withdrawal of the abuse victim or other sudden emotional changes like depression or anxiety. Sudden weight loss, changes in personality, displays of aggression, or rapid declines in health can also be symptoms of abuse.

2) Unexplained injuries such as bruises, welts, open sores, or scars. These types of injuries are especially telling when they appear symmetrically on both sides of the body.

3) Broken bones, sprains, dislocations, or the occurrence of broken eyeglasses or torn clothing.

4) Signs of being restrained, such as bruising or sores around the wrists or ankles.

5) The caregiver refuses to allow you to see your elder loved one alone, without their presence.

At first you may not recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and you might attribute them to signs of a senior’s failing health, or the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Caregivers who are perpetrating the abuse may also try to explain them that way to you, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss warning signs based on the caregiver’s word.

If you suspect nursing home abuse, you should look for clusters of the above warning signs happening together or in succession. Nursing home abuse isn’t limited to physical pain but can also include neglect, ranging from bed sores, malnutrition, unsanitary living conditions, or being left dirty and unbathed. It can also be found in the form of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and more.

If you suspect abuse or have confirmed it is taking place, it is important to take action quickly in order to stop the abuse and prevent it from happening to others. The first step is to report the nursing home abuse to the proper authorities. You should notify another caregiver of the nursing home patient (one that is not the abusive caregiver), a nursing home manager or supervisor, and the director of the facility. If your loved one is in immediate danger, you should contact the police.

Sometimes talking to those in charge can make an immediate difference, but most of the time that is not enough, and someone should be held accountable because no one deserves to suffer while under the “care” of a nursing home.

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, your next step is to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to help you evaluate your loved one’s situation and to walk you through the legal recourses available to you.

The team at Greenberg & Stein has more than 75 years of combined legal experience and has a reputation for taking on and winning difficult cases. While every nursing home abuse case is different, you can be sure that we will fight to ensure that your loved one receives the justice they deserve.

We offer a free consultation and a 24-hour phone line, so don’t hesitate to call us if you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse in New York City. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free legal consultation.