Navigating the Road to Recovery After a Nursing Home Abuse Experience

When a loved one moves into a nursing home, you trust the staff and caregivers are providing professional, adequate, and thoughtful care to each and every resident. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a prevalent issue, affecting approximately 10% of the population living in nursing homes, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse. 

Nursing home abuse is a traumatic experience, and while taking the steps toward recovery may be difficult at times, it is certainly possible. At Ross Moore Law, we’re here to protect your loved ones in nursing homes and hold facilities accountable when their residents have endured abuse under their roof.

Report Elderly Abuse:

National Center on Elder Abuse at 1-800-677-1116

Local Adult Protective Services Locator (Online)

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing abuse is defined as negligent acts or intentional harm caused by staff or caretakers in a long-term, skilled nursing facility. This abuse can lead to physical, psychological, or emotional trauma, medical emergencies, or in some cases, death. 

These are the main types of nursing home abuse:

  • Physical abuse: Hitting, pushing, pulling, slapping, rough handling, etc. 
  • Sexual abuse: Being subjected to any kind of unwanted sexual activity. 
  • Mental/psychological abuse: Yelling, threats, cursing at a resident, using a harsh/aggressive tone, withholding activities, mail, or social events, etc.
  • Neglect: Failing to provide proper nutrition and hydration, dental care, proper exercise, or personal hygiene; or failing to take action when called upon, do prescribed wound care, attend to residents, change residents’ soiled clothing, or segment tasks to maximize independence. 
  • Exploitation: Manipulating residents for money or favors. 

Residents who are receiving care through the federal Medicare program have the right to live in the facility free of any type of abuse and the use of restraints for punishment or the convenience of the staff. Residents who are not participating in Medicare have rights regulated by the state where the nursing home is located.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse     

A critical part of protecting your loved one in a nursing home is recognizing the signs of elder abuse. Some signs are more subtle, while others are more obvious and visibly can be seen. 

Signs of physical abuse:

  • Cuts, lacerations, or skin tears
  • Bruises, welts, or burns
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Falls resulting in fractures or head injuries
  • Facial or dental injuries
  • Broken eyeglasses

Signs of neglect:

  • Bedsores
  • Infections that become septic
  • Dehydration or Malnutrition
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Not being bathed or cleaned
  • Living in dirty clothes, bed sheets, or living conditions
  • Being left alone in public places or abandoned by staff
  • Unsafe living conditions

Signs of sexual abuse:

  • Unexplained sexually transmitted infections or diseases
  • Torn or stained undergarments
  • Bruising or swelling near or around breasts or genitals

Signs of emotional or psychological abuse:

  • Unusual behavior, such as thumbsucking, rocking, or mumbling
  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Social withdrawal or isolation

Signs of exploitation:

  • Unable to pay bills
  • Changes in financial situation or power of attorney
  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank account
  • Unexpected or excessive gift-giving, especially to non-family members

Steps to Take After a Nursing Home Abuse Experience       

Once you’ve identified signs of abuse, take the steps to document the abuse. You can first try to discuss it directly with your loved one who is showing signs of elder abuse. There’s a chance they may not want to discuss the issue whether they’re repressing the trauma or feeling ashamed about the abuse.

If you can see any suspicious injuries, take photos to document evidence of the abuse. If your loved one can discuss the incident, get their story in writing. Some caretakers may try to brush off your concerns or give you some sort of explanation. If something feels suspicious or doesn’t add up, trust your gut and your loved one’s story. 

Next, take your loved one’s story and evidence to management. Often, management is not aware of the abuse going on. Speak with management directly and approach the subject calmly and professionally. 

If you don’t notice any improvements or continue to see suspicious activity, seek help from a government agency outside of the nursing home. Each state has an Adult Protective Services department, and they will investigate claims of elder abuse. The agency will need the details you have on the incident and any evidence or documentation you have of the event.

Lastly, contact an attorney who is experienced with nursing home abuse cases. A skilled lawyer can handle the details of the incident, evaluate the situation, offer helpful resources, and provide the best course of action to protect your loved one. 

Navigating the Road to Recovery        

No matter what the incident entailed, your loved one is most likely experiencing trauma, pain, or suffering in some way. The next step in this process is to begin healing. If physical injuries were endured, seek medical treatment to address the injury. 

It is common for victims of nursing home abuse to feel ashamed or embarrassed, but it’s important to reassure them that the incident wasn’t their fault. There are abuse recovery counselors who specialize in helping elder abuse victims through the healing process. Healing and recovery look different for everyone, so continue to encourage your loved one while they work through trauma and healing.

If a skilled nursing facility is still needed for your loved one, begin looking for a new place of residence for them. Once you’ve found a new home, get to know the staff members, and attend care meetings for your loved one. Stop by for visits on an irregular schedule and become familiar with the caretakers on different shifts to ensure your loved one is getting the care they deserve. 

For Legal Representation, Contact Ross Moore Law Today! 

Your loved one’s safety and care is your top priority when they move into a nursing home. Recovering from nursing home abuse is a journey, but it is one where both you and your loved one can find healing. At Ross Moore Law, we’re dedicated to your loved one’s health and safety, and we’re prepared to fight for them and protect them when an unfortunate incident occurs.

Looking for a local personal injury attorney to handle your case? Our team at Ross Moore Law is eager to put our experience to work for you. Call us today or book a free consultation online! 

Conveniently located in the heart of Atlanta, GA, we are proud to serve clients throughout the surrounding areas of Athens, Alpharetta, Peachtree Corners, Marietta and more! In addition to Georgia clients, we welcome Tennessee clients as well! Get in touch today.

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