If your spouse, parent or other loved one is in a New York nursing home facility, then you likely worry about the treatment he or she receives when you and other family members are not around. While you can rely on logs, staff updates and other types of communication, these may not necessarily be reliable. This is particularly true in situations where your loved one is being mistreated.
In order to protect your loved one, be on the lookout for any signs of abuse or neglect. It is unlikely that a facility is going to call your attention to substandard care practices or abusive caregivers, so identifying such treatment can be up to you. Below are warning signs of abuse of which you should be aware.
Financial abuse can be occurring if your loved one's bank accounts are showing large or unusual withdrawals. If he or she is missing jewelry or other valuable items, it could be an indication of theft or coerced "gift giving." Check his or her mail for unpaid bills, new credit card statements and other financial data that is unusual.
Patients are at risk of sexual abuse in nursing home facilities, especially if they are unable to speak or suffer from dementia. Be alert and look out for bruising or abrasions near the genitals as well as changes in mood or behaviors. Positive tests for sexually transmitted diseases should also set off alarm bells.
If your loved one is being neglected, yelled at or humiliated, it is emotional abuse. Overmedication, hitting, lack of personal hygiene burns and scratches are all signs of physical abuse. Be aware of any unusual markings or injuries. Pay close attention to your loved one's demeanor and statements regarding staff members.
What to do if you suspect abuse of any kind
If you suspect your loved one is being financially, sexually, emotionally or physically abused in a nursing home, speak up as soon as possible. You can talk to an attorney who can help you investigate troubling situations and take legal action against any party hurting your loved one. Doing so sooner, rather than later, can be crucial in protecting a loved one who cannot protect himself or herself.