It is very upsetting to consider the issue of nursing home abuse, but the fact is that these reprehensible acts happen, and they are exceptionally dangerous. What distinguishes nursing home abuse from nursing home neglect is intention. To reach the level of nursing home abuse, the perpetrator must intentionally cause your loved one harm or must not care if the act in question causes your loved one harm. If your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, you need an experienced South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney, and the right time to consult with them is right now.
Nursing Home Abuse Comes in Many Damaging Forms
Unfortunately, there are far too many damaging forms of nursing home abuse.
When you think about nursing home abuse, physical abuse likely comes to mind. The aging residents of nursing homes are exceptionally vulnerable, especially when it comes to physical injuries. Physical abuse refers to any sort of intentional physical harm (or physical harm that the nursing home doesn’t bother to prevent). Signs of physical abuse are often the easiest to spot and can include all of the following:
- Your loved one exhibits unexplained bruises, cuts, or abrasions.
- Your loved one exhibits a more serious injury, such as a broken bone or burn, that doesn’t have a reasonable explanation.
- Your loved one experiences considerable pain that doesn’t have a reasonable explanation.
The fact is that most such injuries can be successfully hidden from you, which is why it is so important to pay attention to your instincts. If you believe your loved one might be the victim of nursing home abuse of any sort, don’t wait to take appropriate action, and if you don’t know what that is, consult with a dedicated nursing home abuse attorney sooner rather than later.
Not all abuse is physical, and while emotional abuse can be more difficult to identify, it can be just as harmful as physical abuse. Emotional abuse can include any of the following:
- Denying your loved one social interaction
- Keeping your loved one sequestered in their room
- Refusing to help your loved one get out of bed
- Tormenting, ridiculing, or harassing your loved one verbally
Most of the time, emotional abuse doesn’t present with obvious physical signs. The perpetrators of such abuse are almost certain to ensure that you never witness it, which is why it’s extremely important to be sensitive to any of the following:
- Your loved one exhibits a change in personality or appearance.
- Your loved one is newly fearful (especially if they appear to be afraid of specific staff members).
- Your loved one exhibits increased anxiety.
- Your loved one begins to self-isolate.
- Your loved one strikes you as being off in any way.
- Your loved one loses a considerable amount of weight for no apparent reason.
Emotional abuse in nursing homes is fairly easy to hide and tends to be very damaging. If you see signs of emotional abuse, act now.
Nursing home neglect lacks the intentional element required to reach the level of abuse, but it can be just as dangerous, especially since the effects tend to accumulate slowly over time and can be difficult to identify. Nursing home neglect often involves negligent acts like the following:
- Failing to provide adequate nutrition or hydration (which can lead to illness, weight loss, dehydration, increased weakness, and more)
- Failing to provide the correct medications in the proper dosages and at the appropriate times (which can lead to many dangerous side effects)
- Failing to adequately attend to residents’ personal hygiene needs (which can lead to feelings of depression and a decrease in overall health)
- Failing to keep walkways clear of dangerous tripping hazards (which can lead to serious slip and fall accidents)
- Failing to regularly move and reposition residents who are unable to do so for themselves (which can lead to serious and even life-threatening bed sores)
- Failing to provide residents with ample opportunities to socialize (which can increase anxiety and lead to depression)
If the nursing home in question fails to run smoothly, has a high turnover rate among the staff, or exhibits other signs of being poorly managed, nursing home neglect may be at play.
Sexual abuse in nursing homes is often exceptionally damaging, but it can also be very difficult to identify. The emotional effects of sexual abuse can be so profound, however, that they may become red flags. If you have even the remotest suspicion regarding sexual abuse, it is far better to be safe than sorry.
The residents in nursing homes are vulnerable in a variety of ways, and these include financially. If an unscrupulous staff member decides to prey on your loved one financially, it probably won’t be difficult to manage. Some staff members even have access to their nursing home’s residents’ private information, including financial information. Further, nursing home residents have few alternatives other than trusting the people who are paid to care for them, which makes them prime targets for financial exploitation. Helping your loved one keep careful track of their finances can help them avoid this fate.
First and Foremost
An important final note to make is that if your loved one expresses that they are experiencing nursing home abuse (in any form), it is critical that you pay attention. Even residents who can’t communicate as well as they once could often find a way to let their loved ones know. If you have a feeling, don’t ignore it.
It’s Time to Consult With an Experienced South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
The compassionate nursing home abuse attorneys at McCravy Law in South Carolina understand how difficult it is to face nursing home abuse, which is why we dedicate our practice to helping clients like you find just resolutions to their claims. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 864-388-9100 today.