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Understanding the signs of nursing home abuse

When a family in Illinois makes the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, it's not a decision that is come to lightly. In many instances, it is necessary to provide that person with the care he or she needs. A worst-case scenario is when an elderly or infirm loved one is placed in one of these facilities and is subjected to nursing home abuse. This comes in various forms, and it is important that the signs are recognized. If the abusive acts ended with a nursing home death, it is all the more important to be able to find evidence as to who caused it.

Because they sometimes are so vulnerable, elderly people are often confronted with abuse, neglectful behavior and exploitation. Abuse is defined as known, intentional or negligent acts perpetrated by a person whose role it is to provide care. This can lead to severe risks and harm to the victim. This is obviously illegal and it is imperative to know the various kinds of abuse that can occur. They include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, exploitation, abandonment and self-neglect.

Signs of abuse can be blatant or more under-the-radar. If a person has bruises, broken bones and other indicators without explanation, it could be a sign that there has been abuse going on. Personality changes such as withdrawing from normal activities, a lack of alertness and depression could be the result of emotional abuse. Bruises around the private areas can result from sexual abuse. Financial changes could be due to exploitation. Bedsores, an absence of attention to hygiene or loss of weight could be from neglect.

It is a betrayal of trust when a person whose care was supposed to be provided by a nursing home is subjected to abuse. Those who believe their loved one has been abused by a nursing home facility need to know how to handle this issue. If there was a fatality and it is suspected to have been a result of abuse, it is even more important that the case be investigated. Speaking to a legal professional experienced in recognizing signs of neglect and abuse can help in pursuing a claim.

Source: aoa.gov, "What is elder abuse?," accessed on Nov. 17, 2015

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