Nursing home abuse is a serious problem throughout the United States, with more than 500,000 reports of elder abuse each year. More than half of those reports come from nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that more than 91 percent of homes surveyed had been cited for being in violation of safety and health standards. Pennsylvania is home to almost two million residents who are 65-years-old or older and has more than 700 nursing homes. As you might expect, nursing home abuse is a problem at a large number of those facilities.
Be on the lookout for common warnings signs
If your elderly parent is living in a Pennsylvania nursing home, it’s important that you know the warnings signs of abuse. Knowing what to look for can help you spot abuse of your parent before it’s too late. The most common warnings signs to look for include the following:
Unexplained weight loss
Infections that keep recurring
Being over medicated
Injuries that cannot be explained
Refrain from doing activities they normally enjoy
Change in alertness
How does your loved one react to an employee?
Whenever an employee walks into your loved one’s room, how does your parent react? Do they stop talking? Do they cower? Are they reluctant to answer the employee’s questions? All of these are signs that your parent could be suffering abuse at the hands of the employee. When a nursing home resident is scared to speak to an employee, or suddenly goes quiet when one walks in the room, you could have a troublesome issue present.
The types of nursing home abuse
There are various ways a nursing home resident can suffer abuse at the hands of an employee. These include any of the following:
Many adult children of nursing home residents don’t realize that abuse takes many forms and more often than not involves non-physical abuse. Nursing home employees have been known to take advantage of residents by tricking them into handing over their life savings or at least a portion of their money. Financial abuse is just as serious an issue as physical and psychological abuse of the elderly.
How to protect your loved one
The best way to protect your loved one is to conduct plenty of research into multiple nursing homes or assisted living facilities prior to moving your loved one in as a resident. Even the best research might not reveal problems, which is why it’s important to learn the signs of nursing home abuse and monitor your loved one as best you can without being intrusive.