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Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse

Putting a loved one in a nursing home is a very difficult decision for any family to make. However, if the person can no longer care for him or herself, it is often the only viable course of action for many. Although you may believe that your loved one will receive the best professional care in a nursing home, unfortunately, this is sometimes not the case.

At times, residents of nursing homes suffer neglect or abuse because for several reasons, including a shortage of staff or training. Because of this, if you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is important for you to know the signs of abuse and to act quickly if you see any of them.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is likely the easiest form of abuse to spot. It may include any bodily force intended to cause pain or injury as well as simple neglect. Some of the telltale signs of physical abuse include:

· Restraint marks

· Pressure sores (also called bedsores)

· Cuts or broken bones

· Bruises

· Lack of hygiene

· Malnutrition or dehydration

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is any form of nonconsensual sexual contact or any sexual contact with a person who is unable to consent. Signs of this type of abuse may include:

· Development of sexually transmitted diseases

· Torn or stained clothing

· Bruising or bleeding in the genital region

Emotional abuse

This form of abuse includes any verbal or nonverbal behaviors or actions that are intended to inflict emotional distress, pain or anxiety. Although this form of abuse is much harder to notice than some other forms of abuse, it is as damaging to the victim as any other more tangible forms of abuse. Warning signs of this type of abuse include:

· Significant changes in behavior

· Fear or anxiety while staff or other residents are present

· Isolation or withdrawn behavior

· Threatening or harassing language

Financial abuse

This includes theft as well as using coercion, threats or fraud to improperly access a resident's assets (e.g. bank accounts). Signs of this type of abuse include:

· Unexplained or unauthorized charges or transfers

· Newly opened credit cards

· Unexplained alterations to estate plans, life insurance or powers of attorney

· Evidence of forged signatures on financial documents

If you notice any of these signs of abuse, it is important to act fast to protect your loved one. Your first priority should be to ensure that your loved one receives the medical care they need. Once this has been done, contact the Law Offices of Gary Osborne to discuss your case. Our attorneys can conduct an investigation and work to hold the party responsible for the abuse accountable.

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