With nursing home abuse the pervasive problem it has become, you may worry about the health and safety of your elderly loved one. You may also worry that you will miss key signs of abuse or neglect.
The types of nursing home abuse range from physical, emotional and sexual to financial exploitation and abandonment. Some types of abuse are more obvious than others. To help you spot less obvious forms of abuse early on, CarePathways examines the early warning signs and symptoms that nursing home staff is abusing your loved one.
Confusion, disorientation or lethargy
It is not uncommon for overworked nursing home staff to medicate their residents or fail to monitor adverse side effects of certain drugs. Signs of medication errors or mismanagement include confusion, drowsiness, disorientation or sleeping all the time.
Nursing homes should have round-the-clock monitoring for residents and strict protocol in place to prevent injuries. If your loved one routinely accrues unexplained injuries such as bruises, scratches, broken bones or dislocations, he or she may be the victim of abuse.
Poor personal hygiene
Victims of nursing home abuse are also often victims of neglect. If your loved one smells of urine or feces, has body odor, regularly wears dirty clothes, has greasy or dirty hair and appears unkempt in general, there may be more serious issues going on when you are not around.
Neglect shows in more than just an elderly person’s appearance. Neglect also affects one’s overall health. Other symptoms of neglect include sudden weight loss, dry or cracked lips, reduced urine output, swollen tongue and increased weakness. Your loved one may also have frequent urinary tract infections, open wounds, bedsores and chronic illnesses.
Finally, victims of abuse tend to either withdraw or lash out at those closest to them. If your elderly loved one shows a lack of interest in previously favorite activities or appears isolated and withdrawn, you may want to question why. The same goes if your normally happy, carefree parent or grandparent becomes fearful, anxious, agitated, embarrassed, guilty or aggressive.