Nursing home abuse often appears subtlety. Like watching water boil, it can begin so suddenly you may not even notice. Often people dismiss abuse as "nothing" because they don't realize it has occurred.
Signs of abuse may not be sudden or obvious. The one you love or care for may seem less alert than expected. Other signs may be unusual weight loss or a sore that does not go away.
The key is to be aware. Don't let someone suffer in silence. Many of today's elderly are of a generation where one had a stoic attitude and did not complain. Sometimes their mental state may have deteriorated which prevents awareness.
Make not if something seems amiss or out of place. Typically abuse does not manifest itself in a single dramatic event. Watch for a drawn out pattern of repeated behavior.
Don't let someone suffer in silence. If you notice changes in personality or behavior ask questions.
Physical and Mental Indicators of Abuse
o Unusual or unexplained injuries (cuts, bruises, burns) o Appearing disheveled or poorly cared for o Pressure or bed sores o Unnecessary Confinement o Dehydration or malnutrition without a medical cause o Confusion or Helplessness o Strange and inconsistent explanations for injuries o Hesitation to talk openly
Nursing home work is difficult. Many jobs are barely above minimum-wage and long hours are not uncommon. Management may cut corners to save a buck. This leads to understaffing, too few attendants and poor morale.
Poor training, improper job placement and lax supervision; having a bad day; and/or drugging a resident to make them compliant is anathema and not acceptable. Nice trappings may be deceptive. Neglect and abuse occurs in the most well recognized facilities. Simply because it is clean and seemingly well managed is no guarantee.
Know what to look for. Ask questions. Investigate when something does not seem quite right.
Contact an attorney experienced in advocating against nursing home abuse. If you suspect abuse or negligence, don't delay. Know your rights.