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Why Is Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect So Hard To Detect?

Why Is Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect So Hard to Detect?

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), anywhere between one in ten to one in three nursing home residents will suffer from abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home staff and administrators. Many experts agree that the actual rates of nursing home abuse or neglect are underreported, and the numbers are much higher. Many incidents of abuse or neglect go unnoticed because it can prove difficult to detect when a nursing home resident has been abused or neglected.

Here, we’ll discuss some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Physical signs of abuse or neglect may include:

  • Pressure ulcers/bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Bruising, burns, lacerations, abrasions, and other unexplained injuries or injuries in various stages of healing
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition, or rapid unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Frequent illnesses or infections
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted infections
  • Head injuries
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unsanitary living conditions or torn or soiled clothing or bedding
  • Fatigue, insomnia, or other sleep disorders

Emotional and behavioral signs of abuse or neglect can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of confidence or self-worth
  • Withdrawal or loss of interest in activities
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Insomnia
  • Fear of being touched
  • Fear of being left alone
  • Reluctance to speak in the presence of nursing home staff
  • Soothing behaviors, such as rocking or mumbling

Signs of financial abuse include:

  • Missing valuables or cash
  • Changes to the power of attorney, beneficiary designations, or estate planning documents
  • New credit cards or bank accounts opened in the victim’s name
  • Unexplained financial transactions, charges, or withdrawals

Why Is Abuse Difficult to Detect?

Nursing home abuse and neglect can often prove difficult to detect due to several factors, including:

  • Abusive staff can restrict a victim’s access or ability to communicate with family and friends, making it hard for loved ones to hear or see signs of abuse or neglect unless they regularly visit or call their loved one.
  • Many signs of abuse or neglect can occur due to ordinary, natural conditions of aging, such as due to accidental falls or due to the onset of dementia.
  • Elderly individuals who already suffer from dementia or other cognitive or memory problems may not even realize they have suffered from abuse or neglect, rendering them unable to report their abuse to others.
  • Even if a nursing home resident recognizes they have suffered abuse or neglect, they may feel too ashamed or embarrassed to report it to authorities or loved ones. 

How a Lawyer Could Help

A lawyer could help your family when you’ve had a loved one suffer nursing home abuse or neglect by:

  • Assists you with contacting the nursing home management to report your concerns, or assisting you with moving your loved one out of the facility if your family’s complaints go unaddressed
  • Filing reports with local and state authorities
  • Thoroughly investigating your loved one’s case to secure all available evidence
  • Preparing a legal claim for compensation for your loved one’s or your family’s losses

Compensation for Your Family

When your family has had a loved one in a nursing home who has suffered from abuse or neglect, your loved one and your family may be entitled to recover compensation for:

  • Costs of medical and mental health treatment for the physical and emotional injuries inflicted by abuse or neglect
  • Costs of relocating your loved one to a new nursing home facility
  • Physical pain and emotional distress suffered by your loved one
  • Loss of quality of life due to scarring or disability, or due to reduced life expectancy caused by injuries

If your loved one passed away due to physical harm caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, your family may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Costs of treatment of your loved one’s final injury or illness
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of your loved one’s society, guidance, love, and affection

Contact a Virginia Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you have a loved one that you know or suspect has been victimized by nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Virginia Beach nursing home abuse lawyers at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation. You’ll be able to speak with a skilled and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer about your family’s legal rights and options. Our goal will be to protect your loved one’s health and safety and help you pursue accountability and justice for the harm they’ve suffered. Don’t wait. Call now.

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Carlton F. Bennett Mr. Bennett is recognized as an expert in traumatic brain damage litigation, nursing home malpractice, and wrongful death cases. He has obtained numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for traumatic brain injury survivors, and other cases involving serious injuries.
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