Having a loved one in a nursing home can be a harrowing experience because nursing home abuse is pervasive. This is why in a prior blog post, we explained how you can tell if your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse. In this post, we will discuss types of abuse and explain how you can fight back.
Financial abuse refers to the improper (usually, illegal) use of your loved one’s money, property or assets without their consent. Elder financial abuse includes stealing, forging, fraud, coercion, exploitation and mismanagement.
Like other forms of abuse, financial abuse has signs. The signs include unexplained changes in bank accounts or statements, unusual withdrawals or transfers of money and suspicious signatures on checks or documents.
Check your loved one’s accounts for these types of suspicious activity, including checking to make sure that their bills are paid, and they do not lack any of their necessities. Both can be signs of elder financial fraud. Missing cash, jewelry, valuables or personal items is also very common, and you can help combat this by keeping an account of your loved one’s valuables.
Another form of nursing home abuse is neglect. This refers to the failure to provide adequate care and services to a nursing home resident according to their needs and preferences. It can include withholding food, water, medication, medical attention, hygiene, clothing, shelter and supervision. Neglect can also involve the lack of proper staff training, equipment and policies.
The signs of neglect are dehydration, malnutrition or weight loss. They can also include bedsores, infections or other untreated medical conditions, in addition to poor hygiene,
dirty clothing and foul odors. Look for unsafe, unsanitary and or uncomfortable living conditions, and a lack of social interaction, stimulation and activities.
What to do if you see the signs
Call 911 if it is an emergency situation. Tell an independent doctor about your concerns and have your loved one examined by them.
Use Virginia’s Elder Abuse Hotline at 1‐888‐832‐3858 to report suspected elder abuse. You can also file a complaint online with the Virginia Department of Health. Similarly, you can contact your local ombudsman who can advocate for your loved one’s rights and interests and help resolve complaints.
And, finally, you can file a lawsuit against the medical providers to pursue compensation for your loved one’s damages. You may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the facility and its staff for nursing home abuse.