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Nursing Home Abuse

What are the physical and psychological consequences of nursing home elder abuse?

Elder abuse

The physical consequences of elder abuse may include injuries, welts and wounds. A victim may experience disturbed sleep, dehydration and malnutrition, persistent physical pain, and increased susceptibility to new illnesses. Seniors who are abused have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated.

The psychological consequences may include high levels of stress and depression. Other potential psychological consequences may include an increased risk of developing fear and anxiety reactions, learned helplessness, post-traumatic stress disorder among others.

How can financial exploitation be prevented in nursing homes?

financial abuse

Financial exploitation happens when someone illegally or improperly uses someone else’s money or belongings for their personal use. It is the fastest growing form of elder abuse in nursing homes.

Here are some steps nursing home residents can follow to prevent financial exploitation:

  1. Know your rights
  2. Protect your financial information
  3. Review your financial information regularly
  4. Report any suspicion of financial abuse

What should I do if I suspect nursing home abuse or neglect?

nursing home abuse

If you notice any sign of nursing home abuse, such as unexplained injuries, lethargy or unresponsiveness, a sudden change in weight, obvious signs of poor hygiene, or any out of the ordinary behaviors, here are some things you can do right away.

  • Document what happened with as many details as possible. Write down exactly what you witnessed, the room number or other location of the abuse or neglect, and the exact date and time of the incident.
  • Write down the names of all staff in the area and administrators on duty. They may become important witnesses later, even if they were not directly involved in the incident.
  • Contact the resident’s loved one. If you have contact information for the resident’s relative or friend, you should reach out to them and tell them what you saw.
  • If possible, talk to the resident. You don’t need to say that you think you witnessed abuse or neglect, but you can ask if the resident needs anything. By doing this, you may be able to determine if the resident has any critical needs that require immediate attention.
  • Inform the state. It is important to report any alleged abuse or neglect so that a full investigation can be done. You will not be liable if you make your report in good faith, even if you are wrong.