When our loved ones are in the care of a nursing home or hospital facility, we expect that the doctors, nurses and other staff members will be compassionate, attentive and treat patients with dignity. Tragically, this does not always happen.
In fact, some reports estimate that abuse or neglect happens in roughly one-third of the nursing homes in this country. In order for this abuse to stop and for the perpetrators to be held accountable, family members and loved ones often need to speak up for the victims and take legal action on their behalf. In order to do this, they must be aware of the different types of abuse committed in these facilities and what signs there may be.
Sexual abuse is incredibly troubling, and it can be difficult to identify. Be on alert for:
- Diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
- Accusations from the victim
- Indications that a loved one is uncomfortable, intimidated or scared around a specific worker or resident
- Scratches, tears and lacerations
Physical abuse or neglect
Signs of this type of misconduct can include:
- Poor hygiene
- Broken or fractured bones
- Unexplained health problems or injuries
- Significant declines in physical or mental health
- Injuries from a fall
- Unsanitary conditions
Nursing home patients often suffer from conditions like dementia or memory loss, which makes them targets for emotional abuse. Family members should look out for:
- Sudden changes in a patient's attitude or personality
- Cowering or other indications of fear around certain workers
- Unexplained declines in a person's mental or physical well-being
- Signs of depression
- Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities
- Refusal to speak or spend time with others
- Signs of anxiety, like repetitive behaviors
Protect your loved ones with legal action
Abuse in nursing homes is a very serious issue that affects far too many families across Texas.
If your loved one is a victim of abuse, he or she may not be able to speak out or report misconduct. Because of this, it is crucial that you pay attention, ask questions and challenge explanations that don't make sense. Should you uncover abuse or have reason to suspect it, it can be crucial that you consult an attorney who can fight on behalf of you and your loved one to hold the appropriate parties accountable.