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Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

The lawyers at The Higgins Firms are committed to improving the quality of care provided by nursing homes. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is becoming increasingly more commonplace. Across the country, there has been a rise in nursing home negligence lawsuits. This increase is partly due to the fact that Americans are living longer, and partly due to the inadequate and understaffing of nursing home facilities. Whatever the cause, nursing home abuse should not be tolerated.

Nursing home abuse can encompass both physical and psychological abuse, or it can manifest as neglect. Regardless of the form, the abuse of vulnerable nursing home residents must end. Residents have the right to be free of such abuse. According to federal nursing home regulations, residents have the “right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” The distinction between abuse and neglect is an important one. Abuse is defined as the intentional infliction of injury; punishment that results in physical harm, pain, or mental anguish; deprivation of care; intimidation or unreasonable confinement. In contrast, neglect is a failure to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain, or a failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation resulting in harm or anxiety. Such “failure” can be intentional or not.

The first step in the battle to end nursing home abuse is recognizing the warning signs. Below is a list of common warning signs, or red flags, which could indicate that nursing home abuse or neglect has taken place.

Physical Abuse:Emotional Abuse:
  • Unusual behavior
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Agitation
  • Self-abuse
  • Becoming withdrawn or refusing to communicate
  • Reluctance to speak in front of staff members
  • Bed Rail Entrapment
  • Skin discoloration
  • Infection
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Withholding medication
  • Medication withheld or excess given
  • Improper body position
  • Lack of assistance with eating and drinking
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unsanitary and unclean conditions (i.e. dirty, soiled bed; fecal or urine odor)
  • Frequent illness, and illness not promptly reported to the physician and family
  • Fleas, lice, parasites
  • Rodents or other pests in the room

If you notice any of these red flags, you must take the appropriate steps to protect your loved one. Do not assume that the situation will simply resolve itself or go away. You should make a formal complaint with the Kentucky nursing home’s staff and keep a record of your complaint. You may have a claim requiring the help of one of our experienced Kentucky and Tennessee nursing home abuse attorneys. We encourage you to contact our office right away. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries that you and your loved one have suffered.

Contact us online or call us at 800-705-2121 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.