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Identifying the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect

Nursing homes are great options for Greenville seniors who are no longer capable of living safely on their own. However, they can also be a source of harm. Many seniors are injured and die from episodes of nursing home abuse and neglect each year. As a relative of an elderly person who is in the care of a nursing home or assisted-living facility, you should be concerned about the health, safety and well-being of your loved one at all times. Knowing how to spot the signs of abuse and neglect are the first steps you can take to protect your senior family member.

Physical injuries

Visit your elderly loved one often so you can keep track of his or her health, appearance and mental state. Look for signs of injuries like scratches, bruises, broken bones and limping. If there are injuries, ask how they were sustained. If explanations sound suspicious, you should investigate the matter further and follow up by reporting your concerns to the administrator of the facility. Injuries that occur from slips and falls, bedsores and improper handling from nursing home staff and a lack of assistance from workers are all signs of abuse and negligence that should not go ignored.

Mental capacity

Many seniors who live in nursing homes are aware of their surroundings and of what is going on around them. Have a good conversation with your relative every time you visit. When you are not able to visit, call on the phone to talk with him or her. You should assess your loved one's mental state and cognitive awareness during each conversation. If she or he starts to respond to you in a confused manner or is suddenly unable to answer common questions you ask, you should immediately notify the administrator.

Medication restraints and errors

Some nursing home staff may resort to using medication as a form of restraint to control residents. Others may administer the wrong dosage or medication to residents. Medication errors and nursing home abuse can result in seniors sustaining injuries that affect their mental capabilities, overall health and, in some cases, lead to death. It is important for you to identify these changes as soon as they occur to minimize any lingering effects or injuries and to prevent wrongful death.

Financial exploitation

Many seniors are still quite capable of handling their finances while they are living in assisted-living facilities. They may also have valuables in their possession. You should regularly inspect your loved one's financial records, documents and inventory items to ensure your loved one is not a victim of theft. Some nursing home staff may take advantage of seniors to gain possession and control of their finances and valuables. If you notice there are things that cannot be accounted for, you should notify the authorities.

If you or someone you know lives in a nursing home where abuse and neglect are concerns, you should speak with an attorney about the matter so you can learn more about your options.

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