What Type of Signs Should be Looked for in Nursing Home Neglect?

Mike Ehline

By attorney Michael Ehline – Nursing home and dependent health care facility providers are prohibited by California state law from withholding or depriving care from patients or residents vital to sustain physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. The provider must provide the proper fluids, nutrition, medications, physical therapy, counseling and other services necessary. Withholding any of these provisions can result in abuse or neglect of the individual.

In some cases it may be difficult to see the signs of abuse or neglect due to progression or the natural decline because of age. In other cases the signs of either of these types of harm may be oblivious, though in cases of dementia and other disorders that cause confusion it may be extremely difficult to tell if there is physical abuse or neglect taking place.

If family members suspect that abuse or neglect has taken place it is essential to consult a top-notch attorney who can uncover the facts to determine if the injuries are due to the actions of the care providers entrusted to provide quality care.

What is abuse in this type of setting?

In nursing homes or dependent health care facilities abuse does not only include physical harm, it also includes mental and emotional abuse of the individual. For this reason it is not always easy to see the signs of abuse. In situations of this nature the caregiver or staff member may intimidate the patient or resident using threats, withholding privileges or food. They may also use forms of mental or emotional cruelty, which is a form of abuse.
This can result in serious consequences, since the patient or resident will be afraid to ask for liquids, food or help.

The signs of neglect in nursing homes and other dependent health care facilities may have several different signs to look for including:

  • Frequent or constant complaints about mistreatment by the resident or patient.
    • The resident or patient has unexplained bruises or injuries.
    • Bedsores
    • Loss of hair on the back of the head
    • Shortening of the muscles known as contractures. This may be a sign of inactivity or physical therapy.
    • Dehydration
    • Weight loss
    • Malnutrition
    • Facility appears understaffed
    • Facility condition appears run down
    • Patient or resident permitted to wander without the proper supervision
    • Suspicious injuries or multiple events including deaths while under the care of a specific worker.

What are Nursing Home and Dependent Care Facility Abuse Signs?

The signs of nursing home abuse is often a pattern of behavior that gives the abuser power or control over the patient or resident and include:
• Hitting, slapping, choking, kicking or any other use of violence.
• Degrading the patient or resident emotionally to destroy self esteem and manipulation.
• Verbal insults or threats by caretakers. This may include words, gestures or other types of intimidation.
• Sexual contact of any type by staff members with a patient or resident.
• Withholding of food, liquids, care or medical care to control the patient or resident.
• Isolating the patient or resident (Click here for more forms of abuse.)

The staff member and the owner of the nursing home or dependent health care facility can be held liable when any of these actions of abuse are used with a patient or resident. The owner is responsible for ensuring caregivers are properly trained and to oversee the staff members.

Legal Help and Advice

In the event a loved one has suffered harm or a wrongful death because of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or dependent health care facility our lawyers can help. California statute of limitation laws apply in case of this nature limiting the time the law allows to file a lawsuit holding the responsibly party liable. Don’t delay in arranging a free consultation with Ehline Law Firm PC to have your case evaluated and the best course of legal action by a law firm that works on a contingency basis. This means unless we recover compensation on behalf of the family or person harmed there are no legal fees until we win. Contact the law firm today at 888-400-9721.

Other Significant Resources:

“What is Elder Abuse” – Administration on Aging: http://www.aoa.gov/AoA_programs/elder_rights/EA_prevention/whatisEA.aspx

“Types of Abuse” – National Center on Elder Abuse: http://ncea.aoa.gov/FAQ/Type_Abuse/

“Warning Signs of Elder Abuse” – PDF: http://www.ccgov.org/uploads/Aging/AoA-119%20YEAP%20InfoFact%20Sheets_WarningSigns%28nm%291.4c.508.pdf

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