Nursing home abuse and neglect is a rampant problem throughout much of the United States. With many baby boomers enjoying their golden years in the Phoenix, Arizona area, it is essential that family members understand typical signs of nursing home abuse and neglect in order to safeguard their loved ones.
Nursing home abuse can occur when a nursing home employee is negligent to a patient’s needs or inflicts physical, mental or emotional abuse. Out of fear of further punishment or embarrassment, many patients are unwilling to inform their family of the neglect, which places the responsibility on loved ones to be aware of typical signs.
How often does nursing home abuse and neglect occur?
In 2001, CBS News quoted a congressional report stating that 1,600 nursing homes in this country, nearly one-third, had been cited for abuse. Another 1998 study by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) showed that more than half of the suspicious deaths studied that occurred in nursing home facilities were likely due to neglect. Since more than 1.5 million seniors reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, loved ones should be ever vigilant for the various signs of nursing home abuse.
Signs of Physical Abuse
While it is virtually impossible to witness a nursing home employee inflict physical harm, you can be aware of common nursing home physical abuse signs, which include:
- Unexplained bleeding
- Excessive drowsiness, drooling and staring into space are signs of over medication
- Unauthorized presence of physical restraints on beds and wheelchairs
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
Indications of ongoing, nursing home neglect are more difficult to spot. Still, you know your loved ones best and behavioral changes are the most common, subtle clues that neglect is occurring. These indications include:
- Feelings of helplessness
- Easily agitated
- Constant fear and anxiety
- Rapid weight loss
- Poor personal hygiene
- Stained clothing, dirty fingernails and/or uncombed hair
- Urine residue on clothing and/or bedding
What Else Can Occur
Other types of abuse and neglect can be equally as traumatic as physical harm and injury. Mental abuse may include verbal attacks, intimidation and threats. Sexual abuse could include forced sexual contact, unwanted sexual suggestions and remarks. Failure to provide food, water, general hygiene or medical treatment may occur. Forced isolation may also occur.
If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect nursing home abuse, your loved one may be at serious risk, so take notes on everything that you see, including photos of the facility and any bodily harm that is evident. Abuse or neglect may be reported to the proper authorities. Documentation of the abuse and neglect is important as many times staff and management may try to deny responsibility. You can also contact an Arizona nursing home abuse attorney who is experienced in personal injury issues. Then, an investigation can begin, so that further tragedy can be prevented.
Protecting Your Loved Ones From Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
The best way to protect your loved ones when they require assisted living is to thoroughly research potential nursing homes. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the above signs so that you can recognize the occurrence of nursing home abuse and neglect before it is too late.
Phoenix nursing home lawyer Jerrold A. Mayro has more than 30 years of personal injury law experience. If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, he will survey your case with a detail-oriented eye. He can make a determination if nursing home abuse is occurring and allow your family the opportunity to obtain the best settlement possible.
Contact Attorney Jerrold Mayro
If you believe a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect in the Phoenix, Mesa, or Tucson, Arizona area, please contact our Phoenix, Arizona nursing home abuse office today or call (602) 604-8400 to schedule your personal consultation with Mr. Mayro.