Nursing Home Abuse: Five Signs to Watch Out For

When the coronavirus pandemic hit New York, people with family members in nursing homes were forced to stay away from their loved ones for months. With the quarantine phasing out, many people are now seeing their family members again for the first time in months, and thus might only now become aware of potential abuse they have suffered. If this situation sounds familiar, you should check for these five signs to determine if your loved one might be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect:

  1. Bed sores:
    • By far the most reliable sign of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, bed sores (more formally known as pressure ulcers) are caused by prolonged pressure on a specific area, such as from laying in bed in one position for too long. Bed sores initially start as red or hardened skin, but quickly turn into open blisters or sores, which worsen as the condition progresses. Bed sores can also be aggravated by prolonged exposure to moisture (such as from soiled sheets or clothing) or from dehydration or malnutrition. Suffice it to say, if your loved one is developing bed sores, they are not receiving the attention they need.
  2. Unexplained weight loss:
    • There are many reasons someone could lose weight while in a nursing home. Illnesses of various sorts can affect a person’s appetite and metabolism, as can many medications. However, nursing homes are supposed to keep a close eye on patients’ weight precisely because it can be symptomatic of various medical issues. If your loved one is losing weight in a nursing home, and the staff cannot explain why, it could indicate they are not keeping a close eye on their patients’ medical conditions, or worse, that they are not making sure their residents are fed.
  3. Unexplained injuries:
    • When it comes to the elderly or infirm, any kind of injury, no matter how small, is potentially dangerous. And unfortunately, nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to slipping and falling, or to rolling out of bed, hurting themselves in the process. Unexplained scrapes, bruises, and cuts, not to mention broken bones, can all be signs that the staff is not doing its job to protect residents from these sorts of injuries, or in extreme cases, can even be a sign that the staff is physically abusing their residents.
  4. Dirty linen or clothing:
    • When caring for people in nursing homes, hygiene is key, especially with the coronavirus still a threat. Thus, it is always a bad sign to see a nursing home resident in soiled clothing or linen, as it indicates the staff may not be paying proper attention to hygienic standards. It could also be a symptom of other forms of neglect or abuse, particularly if coupled with unexplained injuries or other signs on this list.
  5. Sudden mood changes:
    • It can be extremely difficult to get a straight story from certain nursing home residents about abuse or neglect they may have faced, especially if they have memory problems. However, even if they do not consciously remember being abused, they may still suffer changes to their mood because of mistreatment by staff. This is particularly true if they show an aversion to certain individuals on the staff that they cannot otherwise explain.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to the negligent conduct of a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers call (516) 294-8282.

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