Spotting Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you have a loved one who resides in a nursing home or another facility where they receive care on a long-term basis, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open for signs that your loved one is suffering as a result of abuse or neglect. Why? The prevalence of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and similar facilities is staggering in the United States. As a result, it is critically important for the loved ones of nursing home residents to act as proactive advocates on behalf of their loved one’s best interests.
How Can You Know?
As an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer it isn’t always easy to know whether a loved one is suffering as a result of abuse or neglect. Many of the tell-tale signs that would alert someone to the abuse or neglect of a young, healthy person can be attributed to other common causes in a person of advanced age and/or compromised health.
For example, a sudden decrease in appetite can be a sign of abuse or neglect. Many victims of trauma suddenly stop wanting to eat very much in the wake of processing their abuse. However, lack of appetite in a nursing home resident can also speak to a developing health issue, or the effects of older age. Because so many signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can be rationally attributed to other causes, it is critically important that you ask yourself whether any changes in your loved one’s behavior, health, or well-being feels “wrong” to you.
It is ordinarily not the most reasonable course of action to speak with an attorney simply because something feels out of place to you. However, abuse and neglect scenarios are often identified only because it concerned loved one knows the victim so well that they can tell when something is wrong when others would dismiss changes as attributable to benign causes.
If you remain concerned about the prospect of speaking with a lawyer about a bad gut feeling, know that consultations are both confidential and offered in a risk-free capacity. This means that the worst thing you can say is that you expressed your feelings to an attorney only to be reassured that you likely have no reason to fear. The best you can say is that you took your loved one’s well-being seriously, just as you would hope that someone would take your well-being seriously if you were in a vulnerable position and might be suffering as a result of abuse.