What are the Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Macon Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Explains the Warning Signs

When an elderly loved one is in a nursing home, it is essential for relatives to visit regularly to ensure their continued well-being. During these visits, a person should make sure their loved one receiving proper care. People should first speak to the staff at the nursing home about their concerns if they notice anything that does not seem right. If the staff dismisses the concerns and the person believes his or her loved one is in danger or that caregivers are mistreating their loved one, report the elder abuse and neglect to Georgia Adult Protective Services. Relatives should also contact a nursing home abuse attorney to review the situation.

What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Elderly patients are often unable to stand up for themselves if they are experiencing nursing home abuse and neglect. In some cases, due to illness or medication, they may be physically unable to explain to other people what is going on. Visitors must be on watch for signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect, even if their elderly relative does not verbally express that anything bad or unusual is happening.

The signs and symptoms may be as follows:

  • Bruising or other signs of physical abuse. This can include markings from physical assault, sexual assault or the improper use of physical restraints.
  • Unexplained falls, broken bones or head injuries. Elderly people are more prone to slip and fall accidents than others; however, a nursing home is responsible for the safety of its residents. Falls and head injuries may be a sign that the person is not being supervised adequately or is not receiving support when getting in and out of bed or moving throughout the facility.
  • Bedsores. Without question, a person with bedsores is neglected. Bedsores should never happen. They occur on patients who lie or sit in the same place for extended periods of time. Nursing home staff must regularly turn or move immobile patients to prevent bedsores, which can be dangerous and lethal as they are prone to infection.
  • Soiled clothing or bed linens. If an elderly resident’s clothing or bedsheets are not changed on a regular basis, particularly if incontinent or otherwise unable to use the bathroom, a host of diseases and illness may follow.
  • Chronic infections. Infections may be a sign of improper hygiene, bedsores or sexual abuse.
  • Dehydration. Elderly individuals, particularly those on certain medications, are more prone to dehydration than other people. Nursing home staff must ensure the residents drink enough water or have an IV in place for full hydration.
  • Emotional withdrawal. If a resident has a drastic change in personality, that may be a sign something is wrong that he or she is unable to explain verbally.

Why Does Elder Abuse and Neglect Happen?

Many nursing homes, unfortunately, suffer from underfunding and understaffing. This means there may not be enough people on hand to support the residents and/or the existing staff is undertrained, underpaid and overworked.

In many cases of elder abuse in nursing homes, staff members do care about the patients’ well-being and comfort. However, if there are not enough properly-trained staff members to support the residents, mistakes, neglect and even abuse can occur.

According to Georgia’s elder abuse laws, all nursing home staff members must to file a report with the Department of Human Resources if they suspect elder abuse. However, the reality is that the responsibility often falls on family members to make these reports on behalf of their loved one. If you have questions about elder abuse laws or how to file a report concerning elder abuse in nursing homes in Macon GA, our lawyers can help.

Find an Elder Abuse Lawyer in Georgia

If you suspect your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect in nursing homes in Macon GA or elsewhere throughout the state, we can review your case for free. We assist people throughout the state, representing families and people in nursing homes from Atlanta, Columbus and Augusta to Albany, Savannah and other Georgia cities in and around Macon. Call us locally at 888-WE FIGHT, or fill out our online contact form.

If your loved one lives in a nursing home in Georgia but you are not a resident, call (478) 238-6600 or fill out our contact form on this website.