Thursday, April 14, 2011

24 signs of nursing home abuse and neglect

I saw a commercial today for a law firm advising people to call if they or a family member suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home. It made me think back to when a friend of mine died a year and a half ago. She had breast cancer in most of her bones, but had a decent appetite up until nearly the end. She was not neglected. But I am thinking back to the thin, elderly lady in the adjoining bed. On the visits I made, I noticed on more than one occasion that the staff would set down a full plate of steak and vegetables next to the lady. She ignored it. The staff eventually removed the untouched plate. I felt a sense of outrage that they were not trying harder to nourish her. Or maybe that was a form of hospice "care", such as not re-hydrating a terminally ill patient with an IV once they are no longer able to imbibe water by mouth. I still think somebody should have sat down with the elderly lady and spoon-fed her something she could stomach. Call me old-fashioned.

Signs of abuse and neglect:

The first questions to ask when identifying nursing home abuse:

  • Does your loved one have injuries or show physical signs of neglect?
  • Are your loved one’s complaints insistent and frequent?
  • Are objections directed at a particular nursing home staff member?
  • Has your loved one displayed unusual behavior changes?

General Signs of Abuse

  • Staff refuses to allow visitors to see resident, or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
  • Staff does not allow visitors to be alone with resident
  • Frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and resident

Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained new or frequent injuries such as bruises, burns, cuts or broken bones
  • Bloody or stained clothing


  • Complaints about painful blisters or abrasions
  • Bedsores
  • Poor hygiene
  • Weakness or inexplicable weight loss
  • Soiled bedding
  • Constant thirst or extremely dry skin
  • Hazardous or unsafe living conditions
  • Over-medication

Behavioral Changes

  • Sudden personality changes
  • Uncharacteristic anger, lack of interest, or anxiety
  • Fear of being alone
  • Overwhelming sadness and frequent crying
  • Change in alertness
  • Outright complaint
  • Rude or humiliating comments by staff


LL said...

End of life issues are daunting. And most nursing homes are like death camps where everyone is simply waiting to die. We as a society have not come to grips with this situation and I can't see it happening within my lifetime.

Trestin said...

I hope I don't end up in a rest home.

Doom said...

What is frightening is the wave of elderly who are about to go into such places. With over-worked, underpaid staffs, many of them who will not be speaking English, and a court system burdened with so many claims, my guess is at some point the state will simply be forced to look the other way. If people did not have the foresight to have children or those children do not take in their parents, life is going to become very difficult in those last years. I hope having all the toys they had, a "career" over a family, and living like children will have been worth a brutal end for many of the elderly. It bugs me though. It does.

Opus #6 said...

Doom, what a great comment. Maybe it will be the people who looked askance at me when I was pregnant with my fifth and sixth children.

Teresa said...

Doom makes a good point. It is sad that the decline in the fertility rate seems to be correlated to the increase in elderly abuse in our culture. It seems like quite a few of State inspectors nowadays are not doing their jobs properly in keeping the elderly safe. Of course I'm sure what our government considers to be good care doesn't match up with what you or I consider to be good care for the elderly.

Kid said...

Yes, Doom has the line on this one.

I was going to suggest people do their homework before selecting a place, but it probably won't matter.

Personally, given the difference in cost, I plan to stay (if necessary) at a modest hotel with a good restaurant as opposed to a nursing home.

If I can walk to the restaurant to eat, the rest is good. TV, Cable, Decent view, Much cheaper, Maid makes the bed and vacuums the floor and you can have your clothes laundered. A decent tip and she might let you stay and flash an ankle or two at you along with a smile.

And you have internet. You can post stuff to drive liberals right out of their little skulls 24/7/364, or more likely just set your home page to American Perspective and watch for new entries.

WoFat said...

From ages about 4 to around 10, I grew up in a nursing home. Members of my family - notably my grandmother - owned several of them. The residents of the homes were people I considered family when I was a little boy, we all lived under the same roof. They were called "Uncle" and "Aunt" quite often, and told me long involved stories of their former lives. We also talked about Roy Rogers and Tom Mix.

These were not large facilities - usually no more than 4 or 5 patients at any one time. We all sat around in the afternoons and watched HOWDY DOODY together. I now think they did it to accommodate me.

Opus #6 said...

Wo, what a sweet story. Children need the elderly and elderly benefit greatly from being allowed to help rear children. You had an extended family that many people didn't. In today's society many old people are forced to purchase pets for company. We are designed as social beings and need companionship. You were as much a blessing to the residents as they were to you, I am sure.