A painful decision some families must make is whether to place their elderly parents in a nursing home. Already vulnerable, the parents are now at the mercy of a nursing home staff supposedly trained to meet the residents’ needs. Unfortunately, too many elders become victims of devastating abuse.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a persistent problem in New York. Some nursing homes blame it on understaffing or not having the resources for proper training. However, there is no excuse for mistreating those entrusted to their care.
Signs of abuse to look out for
Family members may already have mixed feelings about having their loved one in a nursing home, so suspecting that their parent is also the victim of abuse can be difficult. Nevertheless, it is wise to watch for signs that the staff may be neglecting or abusing their loved one physically or emotionally. Some signs include:
- Sudden weight loss
- Repeated wandering from the facility
- Unusual injuries the staff cannot explain
- Missed doses or overdoses of medication
- Poor hygiene
- Inappropriate clothing
- Marks on the wrists that indicate restraint
- Untreated bed sores, which can result in deadly infections
A loved one who is suddenly withdrawn, nervous or confused may be suffering from emotional abuse. Frustrated staff members who shout at, mock or humiliate elder residents are, indeed, abusing them. To keep the matter secret, abusive staff members may also threaten the residents to keep them quiet.
Nursing home residents deserve better than this. Family members who suspect their loved ones are victims of abuse or neglect in a nursing home may be uncertain where to turn for answers. The first step is to ensure the safety of their loved ones. They may also benefit from learning about their legal options.