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Identifying nursing home neglect

Many Pennsylvania residents have family members who are no longer able to care for themselves. In such cases, relatives usually search for a nursing home that will provide their elderly loved ones with the care and compassion they need. However, many of these individuals are surprised when they discover that their loved one became a victim of nursing home neglect.

Some people are shocked when they discover that neglect and abuse occurred, and often, it has been going on for some time. Family members might spare their aging loved ones at least some pain by identifying the neglect and/or abuse as quickly as possible. Not all nursing homes are bad, but better to be safe than sorry.

Knowing the types of abuse that can occur could help in this endeavor. Physical abuse might not be visible due to clothing or bedding, so fear, anxiety and confusion could indicate this type of abuse. Genital bleeding, cuts/bruises on breasts or buttocks and a diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease most often identify sexual abuse. Neglect takes many forms, such as a lack of medical care, dietary issues (dehydration or malnutrition) and bedsores. Financial abuse occurs as well when a family member's belongings, accounts or other property are missing or used without authorization. 

These are only some of the ways to identify nursing home neglect. Any behavior from an aging loved one that is out of the ordinary or unexplained physical injuries indicates some sort of problem. After ensuring the safety of his or her elderly loved one, any Pennsylvania resident who suspects that something is not right would benefit from discussing the matter with an attorney. A lawyer will more than likely make inquiries and conduct an investigation that could reveal neglect and/or abuse. The next step would then be to consider the legal options.

Source:, "Four Forms of Nursing Home Abuse and How to Identify It", Alisia Watson, Jan. 19, 2017

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