Know the 7 Hidden Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Information for West Virginia Families
When we make the decision to provide our loved ones access to 24/7 nursing care, we do so trusting that the staff we employ will provide a higher level of care than we ourselves are able to provide. We expect that our elderly, injured, and disabled family members will receive good, quality care with a focus on their physical, emotional, and mental health. We look forward to hearing that our loved ones’ social needs are being fulfilled and that their well-being and quality of life is improved. Unfortunately, many nursing home and long-term care residents throughout West Virginia experience the pain and suffering of cruel abuse and neglect at the very hands of those we trusted to protect them. If you are a friend or family member of a personal care home resident, you are encouraged to learn how to identify the seven most common hidden signs of nursing home abuse so you can help ensure your loved one is being treated well – or advocate for their rights if they are being victimized.
1. Look of Fear in Their Eyes
Watch your loved ones eyes closely when you visit. Do they look scared when certain nursing home staff are nearby? Does it seem like they want to tell you something, but they are too afraid to speak? Do their eyes dart around as if they are watching to make sure no one else is nearby?
2. Speaking in Whispers or Hushed Tones
Take note of the tone of voice your loved one uses when you visit. Are they speaking by whispering to you? Are they barely audible? Is this manner of communication different from how they talked to you before?
3. Hints of Secrets
Does it seem like your loved one persistently makes obscure hints about a secret that they desperately want to tell you, but fail to provide additional information about? Have they specifically stated, “I need to tell you something” or similar? Do they begin making a statement, such as “this place…” or “he…” and then trail off without finishing?
4. Facility Refuses to Allow Visits/Limits Alone Time With Loved One
Have you been prevented from visiting with your family member? Do staff or other residents lurk nearby in an obtrusive or threatening manner when you visit? Have in-person, phone, and/or other means of contact been severed? Have you been wrongfully accused of committing abuse (such as financial abuse) or another act with the intent of keeping you away from your loved one? Has your family member been told that you intend to hurt them or have bad intentions?
5. Court-Appointed Guardian Assigned Against Your Will
Has the nursing home sought guardianship of your family member through deceptive or fraudulent means? Has a state-appointed guardian been assigned by the court against the will and ability of you/your family to serve this role? Has your loved one suddenly been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or determined incompetent by a judge despite your knowledge that your family member still retains the ability to exercise his/her own rights, make decisions, and act in their best interests?
6. Transfer to Unknown Location
Have you lost contact with your family member after a hospital stay or admittance to a nursing home, personal care or long-term care facility? Is information about the location of your loved one being withheld from all family and friends (or only provided to someone you likewise suspect of having bad intentions)? Do nursing home staff refuse to disclose the location of your family member despite your designation as the contact person?
7. Sudden Change in Behavior or Decline in Grooming Habits
Is your loved one exhibiting anger, crying episodes, emotional outbursts, mood swings, loss of interest in favored activities, or other changes in behavior that are out of character? Have you noticed a regression in grooming habits, personal care, or hygiene? Is your loved one refusing to eat, drink, take medication, or experiencing weight loss, signs of malnourishment, or dehydration? Does it seem as if your family member is in pain for no known reason when they move a certain way? Have you witnessed the presence of unexplained scratches, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or other injuries?
We Hold Abusers Accountable Throughout All of West Virginia
At Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law, we care about our vulnerable elderly and disabled community members. Our personal injury legal team can assist you every step of the way to get justice for the nursing home abuse and neglect suffered by your loved one. We stand ready to hold at-fault parties accountable for their wrongful actions throughout all of West Virginia. If you believe your loved one is facing abuse and/or neglect at the hands of the nursing home staff tasked with caring for them, contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law for legal guidance: (304) 292-4381.