With the holiday season comes lots of travel time to see loved ones. This may include elderly relatives who reside in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
When you entrust these facilities with the care of your family members, you expect staff members to tend to them properly. Sadly, some nursing home residents suffer from abuse or neglect.
Many nursing homes would never knowingly tolerate abuse, but if you suspect a loved one is being abused at an Arizona senior care facility, the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys offer the following information on what you should do about it.
Elder abuse facts
Abuse at a nursing home is referred to as elder abuse. While elder abuse can include any type of physical harm, abuse isn’t always something you can clearly see. Abuse can also involve emotional, psychological or sexual abuse, or neglectful behavior that may not leave a physical mark, but still have lasting, harmful results.
Neglect is a primary concern in nursing homes simply because they’re often short staffed. However, neglect sometimes goes beyond staffing limitations, with staff blatantly ignoring or depriving residents of basic necessities. Neglect can also go further with a variety of abusive behavior that nursing home residents are afraid to report.
Fear of retaliation from their abusers could keep your loved ones silent. Give them a voice. You may be their only hope for protection from abusive or neglectful behavior, so observe your family members closely for signs that something is wrong during every visit. There are many avenues for assistance, if you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring.
• Unexplained injuries such as bruises, lacerations, burns or other wounds
• Bruising that suggests restraint, especially around the wrists, ankles and midsection
• Bed sores that indicate lack of attention or medical care
• Unexplained illnesses, especially genital infections that could indicate sexual abuse
• Light headedness or disorientation that's potentially due to dehydration, malnutrition or inappropriate medicating
• Poor hygiene, including dirty clothing or bedsheets and/or offensive body odors, especially urine or fecal matter odors
• Torn clothing, broken eyeglasses or other unexplained damage to personal belongings.
• Complaints of missing personal possessions
• Unexplained weight loss
• Demonstrating nervousness, anxiety or fear, especially when certain staff members are present and/or when you prepare to leave
• Depression, apathy or loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
• Noticeable personality changes
• Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
Get more information about mistreatment of the elderly from Arizona Adult Protective Services (APS) or the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
What to do about suspected abuse
Nursing home abuse is a crime and should be immediately reported. Anyone responsible for the abuse of your loved one can be held legally liable for their injuries and emotional distress. Personal injury lawyers in Phoenix can help victims seek monetary compensation. In Arizona, also report abuse to local law enforcement and contact:
Hire top personal injury lawyers in Phoenix
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect during a visit with your elderly loved ones this holiday season or anytime, contact the caring and compassionate personal injury lawyers at Lerner & Rowe Injury Attorneys. Call (602) 977-1900 or use their convenient online LiveChat feature for a free consultation and to learn how they may help protect your loved one’s legal rights. Their offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, but they have representatives available 24/7.