Families who cannot care for their elderly loved ones at home often opt for a skilled nursing facility. While this setting provides the long-term care seniors may need for chronic health problems, it also places residents vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
Adult children of parents who live in nursing homes should be aware of these signs of possible mistreatment.
Signs of physical abuse or neglect may include:
- Visible fatigue or exhaustion
- Weight loss with no known cause
- Bruises, cuts or other injuries without a reasonable explanation
- Change in appearance
- Sleep changes
- Dirty clothes or sheets
- Unwashed skin and hair
- Frequent infections
- Lack of nutrition
- Dirty facility
- Frequent falls
- Untreated medical needs
- Unkempt appearance
Changes in mood or personality may signify that a nursing home resident has suffered abuse or neglect. Other emotional symptoms of mistreatment include:
- Fear of being left alone
- Easily startled
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Isolation from peers
- Loss of interest in daily activities
If a nursing home resident has dementia, he or she may be unable to speak up about abuse or neglect. For this reason, family members must be especially vigilant about these potential red flags in a long-term care facility.
Individuals can report neglect or abuse at a California nursing home to the Office of the Attorney General. If the nursing home resident has a serious injury that resulted from abuse or neglect, the family may be able to file a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit on his or her behalf.