Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse for Which You Should Look
No one wants to hear or find out that the place they have chosen as the primary caretaker of their elderly relative turns out to be an abusive operation. However, abuse in nursing homes stories plays out repeatedly, mainly because it’s common that the problem isn’t found out until after the fact and the harm has been done.
Ideally, taking a preventative approach can avoid such painful experiences in the first place, but families need to know what to look for. Many times, issues are covered up with heavy marketing, restrictions on what relatives can see before the resident is admitted, and then controlled communication to avoid anything getting out.
Remember, nursing homes operate as a business, which means, unfortunately, some will cut corners to maximize their profit margins at the expense of their residents. That, in turn, can lead to signs of nursing home abuse. The Rooth Law Firm is here to help.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse To Look For
An Illinois nursing home abuse attorney knows from practice that residents are particularly prone to becoming victims because they might be mentally and physically unable to defend themselves.
Once in a nursing home and out of sight, residents can be kept silent for years, and state regulators don’t visit often enough to see what needs to be seen to spot problems. Secondly, they can be bullied into silence and submission. When everyone leaves, the resident is left to deal with the staff, who can retaliate and make things worse for the elderly person. Again, spotting issues before using a nursing home is key.
The physical condition of residents in general can be a big signal of what’s going on in a facility. If patients are being seen repeatedly with injuries, wraps, lots of sprains, and fractures, that raises a question about how they are being cared for physically.
Additionally, issues and reports about medication problems at a particular facility can also be a red flag for concerns, especially when there are repeated instances of wrong dosage and reactions. Many times, facilities will try to keep this information under wraps as it’s essentially bad press. However, with a bit of snooping online, issues can be found quickly where a pattern exists.
When visiting, the indirect issues can also be signals. Residents with broken eyeglasses that are repaired with tape or an insistence that staff are present and looking over residents whenever they are talking to an outsider is another indicator of potential bullying and abuse. Frequently, staff will argue they are trained and have the expertise, so they shouldn’t be asked questions; this is a recipe for problems.
Emotional Damage and Abuse
Residents with mental limitations such as dementia or erratic behavior are common in the elderly as cognitive ability declines. However, when patients are visibly cringing at the sight of staff near them, that should be noticed as potential abuse in nursing homes.
Body behavior tells volumes, and people physically react to perceived and real threats, even if nothing immediately happens. They don’t have to say anything; the eyes and physical behavior give away the presence of fear of threats, bullying, verbal abuse, and similar.
Caregiver Absence of Care
Caregiver neglect is most commonly visible in the condition of the facility and rooms of the elderly, both common areas and private. When caregivers aren’t even paying attention to the basic cleanliness and hygiene of the nursing home, that’s probably a sign that even less care is being provided for the daily needs of the residents, something a nursing home attorney picks up on. Again, nursing homes operate as a business; if they are cutting back on environmental care, they are also cutting back on patient care.
Financial Fraud and Scams
The elderly tend to be particularly susceptible to financial fraud because they have access to retirement accounts and, at the same time, it’s common that they are facing cognitive challenges. When stories of unexplained costs and charges to the resident’s account and family start cropping up, it’s a red flag that someone is embezzling funds under the guise of made-up expenses.
Worse, sometimes residents are pressured to give up their identity information, and they suddenly start showing up on new credit card accounts. Families should be watching their relatives’ financial records weekly at least to monitor any unexplained charges, both from the nursing home as well as in general.
Another common area is the healthcare system and insurance fraud. Residents may be used as fake cases to charge down Medicare and state insurance claims, producing thousands of dollars in unnecessary and fake medical expenses.
The problem is widespread in the healthcare industry, especially with elderly patient records. Nursing homes with repeat violations on record with tax agencies, regulators, and Medicare should be avoided.
Getting Help on Nursing Home Abuse
The Rooth Law Firm has been tracking and pursuing nursing home abuse for years. If you have a relative potentially needing to be moved to a nursing home or already in one and need a nursing home attorney, our team can help. We even provide a nursing home abuse hotline Illinois resource for immediate-need cases. We are ready to help; call us today!