Millions of elderly individuals reside in nursing homes across the country. Oftentimes, family members do not have the resources to adequately care for the older family members and must place them in the care of a nursing home. It should be expected that these individuals would be treated with the utmost respect and care in such a facility but, unfortunately, elderly abuse in nursing homes is quite common. Because the elderly population may struggle to communicate the abuse that they are subjected to, it is important to recognize the signs of elder abuse, whether physical, psychological, or sexual in nature.
Signs of physical and emotional abuse or neglect
Physical abuse may be intentional or due to neglect and can be identified by marks on the body or by abnormal behaviors of the abused elderly individual. Signs to look for in cases of physical abuse include:
- Multiple hospitalizations, not related to a change in the individual’s health status
- Withdrawal from social interaction
- Reluctance to seek treatment
- Multi-colored bruises around a patient’s arm
- Abrasions appearing to be from straps
- Pressure sores
Psychological or emotional abuse can be more difficult to identify, as the scars of this mistreatment are not visible. However, there are behaviors that may indicate this type of abuse is occurring within the nursing home. Telltale behaviors in the elderly include:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Not speaking openly
- Having changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Experiencing sudden mood swings
- Behaviors indicating withdrawal, depression, and fear
Families should also be wary if it appears that their loved one is prevented or discouraged from making autonomous decisions or seeing other people.
Signs of sexual abuse in Georgia nursing home residents
Sadly, because of their dependence on program staff for personal hygiene and other activities of daily living, nursing home residents may be targets for sexual abuse. Like other forms of maltreatment, sexual abuse can be detected by unusual patient behaviors and physical injuries or conditions. Signs of sexual abuse may include:
- Pelvic injury
- Difficulty sitting or walking
- Panic attacks or post-traumatic stress symptoms
- Unusual sexual behaviors
When trust is broken between the nursing facility, the elderly person, and his/her family, the victim and loved ones have legal rights to file a lawsuit against the facility for the injuries caused. The experienced Georgia nursing home attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP are available to discuss your case and can help you file a claim against the nursing home facility and staff responsible for your love one’s mistreatment. Use our contact form or call us to schedule a free consultation. We can be reached at our Atlanta office at 404-961-7650 or in Savannah at 912-651-9967.