Anyone who has had to place a loved one in a nursing home knows how difficult it can be to select the right facility. Not only do you want to ensure that your loved one is safe and well cared for, you want them to be happy. These are supposed to be a person’s golden years, but they are also the most vulnerable. Sadly, there are people out there who will take advantage of this vulnerability.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is far too common in this country, and New Jersey and New York are no exception. Although most nursing home facilities have the best interests of patients and residents in mind, there are exceptions. And even in the best homes, the negligent or even criminal actions of a staff member can cause severe harm to helpless victims.
If you are concerned that a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, the experienced injury team at Kreizer Law can help. Contact us today at 1-(800)-4-JUSTICE® for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse in NJ and NY
Abuse can take many forms, and not all are physical. If your loved one is in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, it is a good idea to become familiar with the different types of abuse and their warning signs.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home physical abuse, it is in your best interest to speak up immediately. An experienced NJ/NY nursing home abuse attorney can help you determine how to proceed. Physical abuse can involve slapping, punching, pushing, unlawful use of restraints, and all forms of rough handling. Some of the most common signs of abuse include:
- Unexplained and/or frequent injuries
- Bruises, wounds, lacerations, and burns
- Unexplained falls
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Failure to seek medical treatment
As disturbing as it is, sexual abuse of elderly and otherwise incapacitated nursing home residents does occur. Sexual abuse can involve rape or sexual assault, inappropriate and unwanted touching, sexual teasing or harassment, and indecent exposure. Common signs of nursing home sexual abuse include:
- Bruising in the genital area, or on the thighs, buttocks, breasts, or neck.
- Torn or bloody undergarments
- Genital bleeding or itching
- Pain in genital area
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- The victim displays uncharacteristic sexual behavior or use of explicit sexual language.
- Unexplained incontinence
The signs of emotional abuse can be much more difficult to detect, but the harm inflicted on the victim can be just as devastating. Emotional abuse can involve forced isolation, threatening or intimidating the victim, failure to respect privacy, and depriving the victim of religious or cultural needs. Some of the most common signs of nursing home emotional abuse include:
- Lack of eye contact
- Mood swings
- The victim appears depressed or withdrawn.
- The victim doesn’t want to talk to loved ones in the presence of a certain caretaker.
- Aggressive behavior
- Changes in sleep patterns
Sometimes an opportunistic staff member will take advantage of a patient’s trust to gain access to their financial resources. Financial abuse is also common with in-home care settings when a family member is entrusted with a loved one’s care and finances. Signs of financial abuse include:
- Unpaid bills
- Missing belongings
- Unusual activity in the victim’s bank accounts, such as large withdrawals
- Sudden overdrafts
- Checks written as gifts or loans to a person the family doesn’t know
- New credit cards in the victim’s name
- Bank or credit card statements stop going to the victim’s home.
- The victim seems confused about their financial situation.
Neglect and Abandonment
When the people entrusted to the care of a nursing home resident fail to meet their basic needs, the victim can quickly become injured, sick, malnourished, depressed, or all of the above. Examples of neglect and abandonment include failure to make sure the resident is eating and drinking enough, and failure to administer necessary medications. Signs of neglect and abandonment include:
- Untreated and/or unexplained infections or injuries
- Poor hygiene
- The victim appears confused, scared, depressed or withdrawn
- Soiled bedding
- Unsanitary conditions in room or bathroom
Most of the warning signs above can occur for reasons that do not involve abuse or neglect, but they are frequently the first signs of a more serious problem. This is particularly true in the presence of multiple warning signs.
If you have any suspicion that a loved one is being mistreated, speak up. And don’t rely solely on your loved one to report abuse or neglect, even if you ask them directly. It is common for abusers to intimidate their victims into not talking. Talk to your loved one, talk to staff and supervisors, and talk to an attorney. When it comes to the safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Contact Kreizer Law Today
If you are concerned that a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or long-term care facility, the experienced legal team at Kreizer Law can help. We fight for the rights of injury victims across NJ and NY, and we have an impressive track record of getting substantial compensation for our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another, we can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us at 1-(800)-4-JUSTICE® for a free and confidential consultation about your case.