Tragically, nursing home abuse is more common than many people realize. According to ABC News, abuse occurs in around 35 percent of nursing homes across the United States.
Common signs of nursing home abuse are bruises, broken bones, bed sores, dehydration and malnutrition. However, nursing home patients can show signs of abuse that might mimic other symptoms. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, it is important to know the less common warning signs of abuse.
- Muscle movements and seizures: Involuntary spasms or seizures can be a sign of medication abuse. Either too much or too little of a medication can lead to muscle movements and seizures, because of the effect the medication has on the brain. Additionally, extreme tiredness can also be the sign of medication abuse, which can be difficult to detect in elderly patients.
- Infection: If you hear your loved one is suffering from an infection, it might be a sign of a bed sore. Bed sores occur when pressure is put on an area of skin for a long duration of time, because the person is immobile and not being moved regularly. Infections can also occur from poor hygiene. It is important to catch infections early in elderly patients, because they can be difficult to overcome.
- Mental difficulties: Mental difficulties in elderly patients are often assumed to be the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, dehydration and malnutrition can cause mental difficulties in people, especially elderly patients. Consult with a doctor to determine if your loved one is receiving the proper nutrition or if abuse is leading to cognitive difficulties.
It can be difficult to detect the signs of nursing home abuse. It is important to talk to your loved one about the potential for abuse and to take the time to find a facility that seems like a good fit. If you believe your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, consider filing a lawsuit to protect the person you love and others facing a similar situation.