Watch for Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

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Yet another news story of nursing home abuse surfaced last month in Michigan. There, a former caregiver at the Lifehouse Crystal Springs Retirement Home has been accused of physically abusing a resident suffering from Alzheimer’s and threatening to sexually abuse the resident. Despite the victim frantically calling her family, complaining of the abuse she was receiving and begging to be picked up and taken away from the home, the victim’s family believed the home’s explanations that the victim’s statements were attributable to her Alzheimer’s. It was not until another employee approached the victim’s family during a visit to the home and informed the family that they needed to believe the victim that the family decided to take action. The family wished they would have taken action sooner.Eighty year old woman sitting in a wheelchair

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

It is hard to believe that a nursing or retirement home that receives thousands of dollars a month to care for your loved one can abuse that person. Many times family members do not want to believe abuse is happening because the thought is so unbelievable and horrific. But nursing abuse can and does occur, and quick intervention is necessary to protect your loved one from further harm.
The following are signs your loved one may be the victim of abuse at a nursing home or retirement home and warrant further investigation:

  • Complaints or descriptions about abusive (or even questionable) behavior or pleas to leave the facility;
  • Unusual marks, bruises, or injuries that are present on your loved one;
  • Unusual changes in your loved one’s disposition or mood, or if your loved one appears nervous or scared when around certain individuals;
  • Changes in your loved one’s appearance. For instance, a loved one who appears to be “wasting away” may be the victim of neglect by the home’s staff; and
  • Nursing staff that unreasonably or unusually limits your ability to visit or speak with your loved one. For example, be especially suspicious if you are denied access to your loved one during normal visiting hours or if a nursing staff member feels the need to “supervise” your interactions with your loved one.

What Do I Do if I Believe My Loved One is Being Abused?

You should take immediate action if you believe your loved one is being abused. Document your suspicions – what you observe or hear, where this occurs, when it occurred, etc. – and share your concerns with nursing home staff. Insist that the nursing home staff follow up on your suspicions and share their findings with you. If you feel that your complaints are not being taken seriously, contact the  Division of Nursing Homes for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for further help.
You should also contact a Greenville nursing home abuse attorney like David R. Price, Jr. Your loved one may be entitled to compensation and damages from the nursing home through a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Your attorney will review the notes you have taken as well as your statements, identify other witnesses who can help prove your case, and work to get your loved one the compensation they deserve.


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