Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Texas
If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home and you suspect they might be facing mistreatment, it can be difficult to know when to step in. Sometimes an elderly loved one’s memory or cognitive skills are not trustworthy, and older adults are prone to increased bruising and injury. Knowing signs of abuse can help you have more confidence about when to intervene and get your loved one help.
Typically, signs of nursing home abuse involve physical injuries like bruising or broken bones, bedsores from being left unattended in bed, malnourishment, and changes in mood or personality. Sometimes it can be difficult to know if these are simply the effects of aging or signs of abuse, in which case you can call a Texas nursing home abuse lawyer for help investigating the case.
For help with your case, call our Arlington nursing home abuse lawyers immediately at (817) 476-1797. At The Queenan Law Firm, we offer free case evaluations.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse to Watch for in Texas Nursing Homes
As mentioned, there are many signs of abuse that you can watch for. It is important to remember that abuse can mean more than simply physical abuse, as abuse can be psychological, emotional, verbal, or even sexual. Additionally, different people react to abuse differently; some abuse victims might withdraw into themselves while others might deny the abuse to protect themselves or even begin to defend their abusers from accusations. Lastly, abuse can be difficult to detect in older adults because they are often prone to a higher risk of injury that has nothing to do with abuse, especially when it comes to bruising and broken bones from falls.
If you see any of the following signs or symptoms of abuse – especially a combination of these factors – you should reach out to our experienced Dallas personal injury lawyers to seek help for your loved one:
Bruising and Injuries
Bruising is one of the most obvious injuries you can see on someone. Along with broken bones, bruising is one of the most obvious signs that someone has laid hands on a nursing home patient in a violent or abusive way. If you see signs of bruising in surprising places, make sure to take pictures of the injuries and document them, as this can help identify patterns and timing of potential abuse.
It is, however, important not to assume that every bruise is the result of abuse or neglect. Older adults are prone to extensive bruising that can look surprisingly severe, even from injuries that would not cause much bruising on younger adults. This is especially true if the patient is on blood thinners or other drugs that can cause increased bruising.
Broken bones are also more common for elderly adults, but that does not necessarily mean abuse either. Older adults are prone to broken injuries from falling even when they are being given proper care and attention. However, falling could also be a sign that your loved one is not getting the care and attention they should. Broken bones that were likely not caused by a fall, such as a broken femur, could also be stronger signs of abuse.
Untreated injuries are especially worrying, as they could be a sign that your loved one is being abused and the nursing home isn’t reporting or treating the injuries for fear that their abuse would be discovered. If the nursing home staff seems surprised when you report a parent or grandparent’s injuries, that is a potential red flag.
Bedsores are skin sores that occur when someone is left in a bed or chair in the same position without moving. Younger or more physically able people can toss and turn on their own, but older patients with mobility issues often need to be turned and rotated by nursing home staff to prevent bedsores.
Extensive bedsores could be a sign that your loved one was left unattended in bed or sitting in a chair for a long period of time without help. Nursing home workers are responsible for rotating patients and, if they are able to handle such activities, getting them up and walking at regular intervals to avoid bedsores.
Especially if bedsores are discovered along with soiled bedsheets or unclean conditions, it could be a serious sign of neglect. Call an Irving personal injury lawyer for additional details and information on the next steps to take.
Soiled Clothes and Sheets
Many nursing home residents have incontinence issues, and many cannot use the bathroom or bathe properly on their own. Nursing homes often make caring for patients’ bathroom and hygiene needs a top priority. Any evidence that your loved one is sitting in soiled clothes or bedsheets for a prolonged period could be a sign of neglect or abuse.
Unhygienic conditions can lead to infections and other bad health issues. Especially if infections have already set in from unclean conditions – and especially if these unclean conditions are found in conjunction with other signs of abuse or neglect – you should call a Midland personal injury lawyer right away.
Changes in Mood or Personality
Being in a nursing home is not always fun or exciting, and many older adults might become more melancholy or depressed simply because of the situation they are in. However, some changes in mood or personality are more likely signs of abuse.
First off, any new or surprising personality changes could be the result of abuse. Investigate further if you find your loved one doesn’t “seem like themselves.” If your loved one is suddenly afraid or recoils from being touched, that could be a sign of physical abuse. Similarly, many abuse victims become avoidant, keep their heads down, and turn uncharacteristically quiet.
Abuse victims can also become defensive or angry without an apparent cause. They might also try to cover up signs of abuse for fear of getting someone else in trouble or for fear that their abuser might retaliate if they report the abuse.
In any case, it is worth asking your loved one additional questions in a safe environment to help route out any abuse. You should also call an Odessa personal injury lawyer, who can look into the nursing home’s practices and make inquiries, all while seeking to protect your loved one from retaliation.
Signs that your loved one is not being fed or that food is being restricted without medical need are often clear signs of abuse. Some older adults have difficulty absorbing nutrients because of medical conditions, or other factors might change their tastes and appetites, preventing them from getting good nutrition. However, nursing home staff should make up for this by changing the patient’s diet and adding supplements as necessary. Loss of appetite is one thing, but failing to adequately feed a nursing home patient often squarely falls into the category of abuse and neglect.
Call Our Nursing Home Injury Lawyers if You See Signs of Abuse
If your loved one lives in a nursing home in Texas and you see signs of abuse or neglect, call our Plano, TX personal injury lawyer lawyers right away. For a free case review, contact The Queenan Law Firm today at (817) 476-1797.