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Know how to recognize symptoms of nursing home abuse

Helping your aging parent transition to a fully assisted living facility can be an intensely emotional experience. Witnessing your loved one's emotions as he or she says goodbye to a long-loved home and coming to terms with the fact that independent living is no longer an option can evoke tears of sorrow along with feelings of worry, hoping you are making the right choices. You likely checked into various nursing homes in your area before determining which one was the best fit for your mother or father. 

Understanding that you wouldn't be able to be with your loved one 24/7, you knew you had to trust caregivers to provide quality care and compassionate attention to your family member and expected all staff members to act according to the utmost level of accepted safety standards. Sadly, nursing home abuse is problematic in Illinois and throughout the nation. Recognizing signs of abuse and knowing where to turn for help if a problem arises are critical factors of quality elder care.  

Red flags you should never ignore 

It's true that like anyone else, elderly people can get cranky or have off-days. However, if your loved one seems out of sorts during several consecutive visits or otherwise exhibits behavior that causes you concern, you may want to further investigate the situation. The following list includes signs that nursing home abuse may be the reason for your parent's troubling demeanor: 

  • Unexplained lacerations, bumps or bruises
  • Injuries for which your loved one has offered an explanation that doesn't seem logical to you
  • Bed sores
  • Witnessing your loved one outdoors, unsupervised, especially if he or she has special needs
  • Disheveled appearance, perpetual body odor or clothing inappropriate to the climate
  • Dirty linen or soiled undergarments
  • Erratic mood swings or apprehension toward a particular staff member 

Nursing home abuse may take a physical, emotional, mental or sexual form. The bottom line is that if any issues make you feel uncomfortable and doubtful that staff members are providing proper care to your loved one, you have the right to ask questions and seek solutions to help rectify the situation. Hopefully, the underlying cause of your concerns will minor, easily manageable issues. If not, then you can act on your loved one's behalf to report wrongful behavior.

Justice for the elderly

You also have the right to seek legal accountability against any party or parties whose negligence or abusive behavior causes your loved one injury.  

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