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Signs and causes of nursing home abuse

People in Illinois who have to make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a care facility will have numerous concerns. Most will relate to the person adapting to the new living arrangements. Others will have to do with various health issues and age that necessitated the decision in the first place. Others, however, will have to do with the possibility that a loved one is being abused in the facility. There are many different ways in which a person can be subjected to abuse in a nursing home and it is important to know what they are and how to recognize the signs.

Neglect occurs when the caretaker does not adhere to all of the person's needs. A nursing home is obligated to have the proper staff and protocol to care for the person. If they do not, they could be found negligent. Abuse is the perpetrating of harm on the elderly person and it leads to mental or physical injury. Physical abuse can range from assault and battery to sexual violations. Evidence of this can be marks, bruises, broken bones, infections and bedsores. Mental and emotional abuse can be hard to spot because there is no physical evidence of it, but it can cause similar damage. Deprivation, taunting, yelling and threatening are all examples of this type of abuse. Sexual abuse is self-explanatory and can cause severe damage to the resident.

Signs of abuse can vary. If the resident is losing weight and it is unexplained, it could be due to a lack of adequate nutrition. Bedsores result from a person being immobile for an extended period of time. Bruises, lacerations and broken bones can result from not being cared for properly and allowing the person to be put in a position where he or she falls. It can also stem from abuse. Mistakes with medication is something that can happen and patients who do not get the medications they are supposed to, or get the wrong dosage, can become ill or even die.

Those who are suspicious that there is nursing home abuse taking place need to know the subtle and obvious warning signs of what is happening. If there has been injury or a loved one has died in a nursing home, it is imperative to have a full investigation as to what happened. Furthermore, family members should understand their legal options in these cases.

Source: Nursing Home Abuse Center, "Nursing Home Injuries," accessed on April 4, 2016

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