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Spotting the warning signs of nursing home abuse early could help prevent your loved one and other care home residents ongoing suffering.

It’s estimated that only 1 in 25 cases of abuse are reported, due to victims being unable or unwilling to share what’s happened to them. This means many residents endure suffering abuse or neglect for longer than they have to.

While some types of abuse leave a more visible impact on their victims, others can be harder to spot. Here’s what you need to watch out for.

Spotting early warning signs

The earliest signs of abuse are often very subtle and can easily go unnoticed, some examples might include:

  • Fear of a specific member of staff
  • An untidy or unclean environment
  • Signs of discomfort

In these cases sharing your concerns with the management team at the nursing home should be the first thing you do. They have a duty to investigate your concerns to ensure they’re giving a good level of care to their residents.

It’s then important to monitor things closely to check that things have improved as you would expect and that no other signs of abuse or neglect follow.

Most common signs of abuse

Unfortunately the earliest warning signs are the hardest to spot, or may not be present at all before your loved one starts to suffer.

Signs that abuse may already be happening vary depending on the type of abuse that’s taking place:

Signs of physical abuse:

Physical abuse is the most common and makes up 27.4% of nursing home abuse cases. Warning signs that physical abuse may be taking place include:

  • Bruising
  • Bedsores
  • Abrasions
  • Frequent infections

Signs of emotional or physiological abuse:

Emotional abuse usually manifest itself in changes to behaviour, including:

  • Isolation
  • Being withdrawn
  • Not speaking to visitors
  • Crying for no obvious reason
  • Anxiety and fear

To find out more about the different signs of abuse and how they might present themselves in your elderly loved one you can read our guide on the most common signs of nursing home abuse.

Signs of sexual abuse

Sexual abuse accouunts for 7.9% of reported nursing home abuse cases in the U.S, although the true figure may be higher.

There are some specific warning signs that can point to sexual abuse, including:

  • Torn clothing
  • Pain when sitting down
  • Not wanting to talk or communicate
  • Fear of a specific person
  • Unexplained bruises

To find out more, you can read our in depth article: Sexual abuse in nursing homes in Arizona and pursuing a case..

Signs other residents are abusing your loved one

Sadly other residents in a nursing home are one of the most likely perpetrators of abuse, sometimes due to the effects of medication or health conditions like Alzheimer’s.

22% of abuse cases reported to the National Center for Victims of Crime were resident on resident assaults.

If you suspect your relative is being abused by another resident in their nursing home speak to the management team about your concerns straight away.

You can find out more about resident on resident assaults by reading our article: Why Do Resident on Resident Assaults Occur in Nursing Homes and What Should Be Done To Prevent Them.

Spotting abuse in eldery residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia

It’s much harder to know when abuse is happening when the victim has difficulty telling you what’s happening.

In these cases family and friends who visit the nursing home resident need to be extra aware of potential signs of neglect or abuse.

You can find out more by reading our guide: What can I do if my loved one with Alzheimer’s is the victim of nursing home abuse?

What injuries could have been caused by abuse or neglect?

Unfortunately a wide range of injuries can be the result of abuse or neglect, but there are some that are more common than others, including:

  • Bedsores: often caused, or allowed to progress, when a patient isn’t regularly turned to relieve pressure on an area of their skin.
  • Hip fractures: often caused by a fall which could often be prevented.
  • Bedrail entrapment: can be caused by an improperly fitted bed rail, or where the resident is given a bedrail when one isn’t suitable.
  • Choking injuries: while these can be more common in elderly residents, nursing staff should be monitoring high risk patients and supervising closely during meal times.

Signs of nursing home abuse articles

Our articles on nursing home abuse give you all the information you need to recognize different types of abuse and the confidence to act in the best interest of the victim.

  • 5 Most FAQs About Nursing Home Abuse
  • Nursing home abuse dictionary
  • 5 Common Types Of Nursing Home Abuse That Result In Wrongful Death
  • Nursing Home Neglect FAQ’s

How does your nursing home rate?

Understanding how your nursing home performs when it comes to protecting residents from abuse and neglect can help you get a clearer picture of what’s happening.

Use our Nursing Home rating tool to check how the nursing homes in Arizona compare.

Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive guidance on all personal injury matters by phone or video conference call.

Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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