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Can you recognize the signs of nursing home abuse?

When an Ohio family places a loved one in a nursing home, it is with the assumption he or she will receive quality care. If you have had to make the difficult decision of moving a loved one to a long-term care facility, you understand how difficult it is to make that choice on behalf of someone else. You probably put in hours of research before choosing a facility that best meets your family member's specific needs.

It can be devastating to learn that your loved one experienced mistreatment or abuse of any kind at his or her nursing home. You may feel angry and overwhelmed, but you have the right to take action on his or her behalf and hold liable parties accountable. Abuse, neglect or mistreatment in any form is unacceptable, but you can fight back.

Signs of a problem

One thing that may be helpful to you is to learn to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse. When you notice a change in your loved one's behavior, you may assume it is just him or her adjusting to a new environment, but it could be a sign there is a serious problem. Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include the following: 

  • Bruises, broken bones and other unexplained injuries may indicate your loved one is a victim of physical abuse.
  • Emotional abuse may be happening if your loved one is withdrawn, fearful, depressed and does not want to interact with anyone else.
  • Victims of sexual abuse may have bruising in sensitive areas or may act afraid or depressed.
  • When patients in nursing homes are victims of neglect, it can lead to falls, dehydration, malnutrition, medication errors, wandering off and more. 

If you notice unusual behavior, physical signs of a problem or other issues with your loved one concern you, it may indicate something is wrong. Victims of neglect and abuse in nursing homes are often ashamed, confused or refuse to talk about what is bothering them.

What can you do?

As a family member of someone who experienced abuse in a nursing home, you have the right to act on his or her behalf. You can alert the appropriate authorities of problems, and you can seek legal guidance regarding the potential for a civil claim. Ohio law allows personal injury victims to hold liable parties legally accountable and pursue appropriate compensation through a lawsuit.

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