Warnings and Red Flags: What are the Basic Signs of Abuse in a Missouri NH?
It is uncomfortable to place a loved one in a Missouri nursing home. It means we are acknowledging that our loved one can no longer care for himself or herself, and we are no longer able to help. When we place a loved one in a nursing home, we are trusting that nursing home to provide competent and acceptable care, supervision, and treatment for our loved one. We are also paying quite a bit of money for these services and expect that these basic requirements are properly met. In fact, the law requires that nursing homes meet the needs of each resident. While many Missouri nursing homes appropriately care for and supervise our loved ones, unfortunately there are many nursing homes which do not. Not only do some nursing homes fail to provide the proper level of care, supervision, and treatment that our loved ones need and deserve, but some Missouri nursing homes and their staff actually abuse our loved ones.
According to the National Institute of Justice, one in ten elders will suffer some form of abuse. The World Health Organization places that number even higher at one in six elders. There are many different types of abuse that could occur in a Missouri nursing home. Any type of abuse is unacceptable and should be reported when detected. The most common types of abuse include the following:
- Physical abuse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Emotional abuse/psychological abuse; and
- Financial abuse.
Warnings and Basic Signs of Abuse in a Missouri NH
Knowing that Missouri nursing home abuse happens is just the first component. Knowing what the warning signs and basic signs of abuse is next. This is imperative to limit suffering, personal injuries, and even prevent the wrongful death of a loved one. Our St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer breaks down the basic signs of abuse in a Missouri nursing home for each of the common types:
Basic Signs of Physical Abuse: Physical abuse signs can be dramatic and obvious, or hidden and calculated. It is important to question any out-of-the ordinary injuries, as a loved one in a Missouri nursing home may be afraid to admit physical abuse due to intimidation. Some of the basic signs of abuse include the following:
- Unexplained bruising;
- Fractures or broken bones, particularly spiral fractures of the arm;
- Burns, especially cigarette burns, lighter injuries, or water burns (either “sock burns” or spill burns);
- Unexplained lacerations or cuts, especially in areas of skin that are covered up like the inner thighs or ribs;
- Uncharacteristic falls, particularly down stairs;
- Fear or anxiety around certain caretakers;
- Broken teeth or lost teeth in incidents;
- Organ injuries;
- Self-harming incidents;
- Depression or feelings of worthlessness; and
- Other out-of-the-ordinary injuries or conduct.
Basic Signs of Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is more difficult to detect, but horrifically more egregious. This is because most instances of sexual abuse in a nursing home are on residents who are unable to effectively communicate the harm or defend themselves. This means other caretakers and family members must be responsible for guarding a loved one. Some basic signs of abuse include the following:
- Bruising in private areas;
- Bleeding from private areas, blood on underwear or undergarments;
- Unexplained injuries to private areas, including bite marks, pinch marks, hickeys, nail marks/scratches, or other odd injuries;
- New diagnoses of STDs;
- Depression, anxiety, or extreme mood swings;
- Self-harming incidents; and
- Other out-of-the-ordinary injuries or conduct.
Emotional Abuse/Psychological Abuse: Emotional abuse and psychological abuse is a particularly troubling type of abuse because it could create intense pain and suffering, breakdown family relationships, and even result in a quick deterioration of a resident’s health. In severe instances it can result in self-harming behavior and even suicide attempts. Some basic signs of abuse include the following:
- Unexplained mental health issues;
- Depression and anxiety;
- Self-harming like cutting;
- Being withdrawn;
- Antisocial behavior;
- Unexplained behavioral issues;
- Mood signs;
- Anger or violent outbursts;
- Unexplained crying;
- Breakdown of relationships with family and friends;
- Refusing to leave bed or room; and
- Many other out-of-the-ordinary conduct.
Basic Signs of Financial Abuse: Financial abuse is very difficult to detect and prove, but it can result in catastrophic harm to a resident who has little income and resources to pay for treatment, medications, and other necessary expenses. Thus, while financial abuse does not cause direct physical harm, it can result in health complications and mental anguish. The problem is some nursing homes and/or their employees are literally stealing from nursing home residents and families need to watch out for the warning signs. Some basic signs of financial abuse include the following:
- Missing bank cards, credit cards, and other financial documents;
- Unexplained sales of stock or personal possessions;
- Changes in Last Will preparations, particularly adding a caretaker as a beneficiary;
- Missing personal possessions, especially expensive items like computers, tablets, or phones;
- Bounced checks when monthly income sources should be sufficient to cover expenses;
- Unexplained withdrawals of money, especially in cash; and
- Other out-of-the-ordinary conduct or issues.
Do You See the Basic Signs of Abuse in a Loved One at a Missouri NH? Call Our Law Firm
Any type of abuse can lead to serious health complications, whether it is physical abuse or even financial abuse. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to prevent any type of intentional harm like abuse on a resident. When a Missouri nursing home fails to do so, it may be an indication that there are other problems present such as understaffing, negligent hiring, poor training, and incompetent management. If you see the basic signs of abuse in a loved one, please call our St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer at the Terry Law Firm by dialing (314) 878-9797 to learn how we can help protect your loved one.