The statistics about the frequency of nursing home abuse and neglect are far too common. It doesn’t even take in consideration, the numerous cases that go unreported every year. When it does happen to them, nursing home residents may be reluctant to speak out because they are afraid that reporting it will result in additional abuse. Sometimes victims of abuse carry shame and embarrassment and sometimes they suffer from dementia and other ailments which make it difficult to report the mistreatment. To help protect your relatives and loved ones, you can ask them questions that can get them talking and can result in exposing nursing home abuse.
Questions about Daily Activities
It’s important to ask about the residents’ daily activities and whether anyone is interfering with them. When this does occur, it can be considered willful deprivation and shows signs of neglect or a form of emotional abuse that attempts to exert control over individuals. Here are questions to ask:
- Does anyone limit your daily activities?
- Does anyone refuse to take you to get help for medical care or any other assistance?
- Do you have trouble getting food, water, or medications?
- Does anyone refuse to help you to the bathroom?
- Are you kept in your room when you want to visit other people?
- Does anyone restrain you or tie you up?
If any of these occur, the next step is to find out who the perpetrators are because the abusers can be the nursing home staff or even other residents.
Questions about Actual Threats or Threatening Behavior
Although verbal threats don’t cause the same type of harm as physical abuse, they can do a lot of damage to a resident’s well-being and idea of safety. Here are questions to ask:
- Has someone talked to you in a threatening way?
- Has anyone scolded you?
- If they did, what exactly did they say?
Verbal abuse can make the residents feel afraid, agitated, and isolated. It can result in mental health issues, including depression or anxiety. These threats or intimidation can be used to keep residents from talking to their friends and relatives, keeping them getting the help that they need.
Questions about Physical Contact
No one should be inappropriately touched or struck. These questions deal with forms of physical abuse or sexual abuse. Some of the signs include broken bones/sprains, scratches, bruises, and hair loss. Here are the questions:
- Has anyone touched you without your permission?
- Has anyone ever hit you?
Because this deals with sensitive issues, you can ask them less direct questions and can ask them how they got a visible injury.
Questions about Finances
If a resident has been forced to give someone money, it can be a sign of financial abuse. Here are the questions:
- Has anyone forced you to give them money?
- Has anyone asked you to sign papers?
- Has anyone asked for confidential information like your bank account, debit card/credit card number?
Financial abuse is also very important to get a handle on. In some cases, seniors have had their life savings taken from opportunists who take advantage of their vulnerable state.
Because it may be difficult for a senior to open up, you can observe their behavior and environment and can think of the following questions for yourself that could indicate a follow-up as to whether there is abuse or neglect going on.
- Does your loved one have mood swings?
- Do they have difficulty maintaining eye contact?
- Are they missing clothes or underwear? Or are improperly dressed?
- Do they have poor hygiene?
Get in Touch with a Nursing Home Attorney
No one should be taken advantage of, especially vulnerable older adults. If you believe that your relative or loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in their nursing home, then you will want to take steps to protect them. If they have been victimized, you can look into the possibility of liability on the part of the facility. Find out about your options from an experienced Walton Law attorney. Contact us right away for more information.