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Tell-tale signs of a loved one suffering nursing home neglect

When an elderly person is subjected to mistreatment of any nature in a facility that has a legal obligation to render protection and care, it is known as institutional elder abuse. Another term used to describe such an atrocity is nursing home neglect, something that is far too prevalent nationwide, including in Pennsylvania. People with loved ones in nursing homes may want to look out for any signs of abuse or neglect in order to put an immediate stop to it.

When an elderly loved does not receive the necessary assistance to move about, neglect can be evident in his or her personal hygiene. Look out for the smell of feces and urine, dirty clothes, unwashed hair, body odor and overgrown nails. The development of incontinence and skin damage from sitting in wet disposable diapers will indicate the lack of help to get to the toilet. The absence of daily exercise will also be evident in the person's difficulty to move about.

Bruises, dislocations, broken bones and scratches can indicate rough handling during the administration of medication, transfers and feeding. Recurring urinary tract infections and open wounds or bed sores are indications of inadequate care for those who are confined to their beds. Undernourishment and dehydration can be recognized in unexplained weight loss, cracked lips, dry mouth and swollen tongue along with insufficient urine output.

Confusion, disorientation and drowsiness could be a sign of medication overdose, and fear of retaliation may cause a loved one to become withdrawn, anxious, agitated or embarrassed. Emotional abuse is prevalent but often difficult to recognize, and it could include bullying, ridiculing, threats of punishment and humiliation. If anybody in Pennsylvania has even an inkling of a suspicion that a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, he or she can seek the help of an experienced elder law attorney. A lawyer can launch an independent investigation and explain the legal rights and steps that can be taken to put an end to the abuse.

Source:, "10 Warning Signs of Elderly Neglect or Abuse in a Nursing Home", Clare Absher, Accessed on Aug. 5, 2017

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