Signs of Nursing Home Abuse | Joel Bryant

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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse



Nursing home abuse happens every day in California. Nursing home residents are often the victims of horrible elder abuse because they have physical or mental restrictions that leave them unable to communicate what is going on. The first step in preventing nursing home abuse is to recognize the signs. Nursing home abuse can take on a variety of forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and even financial abuse. Nursing home abuse can also range in severity, from small injuries, trauma, or fraud, to death, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or losing everything financially. Regardless of the form or severity, nursing home abuse should be reported and if you see any of the signs they should be immediately investigated. By reporting the abuse, the wrongdoers will be held responsible for their actions, and your loved one as well as others will be saved from harm’s way. Any form of abuse adversely impacts the quality of an elder’s life, and thus it is of great importance to end the abuse so that your loved one’s remaining time may be filled with peace and happiness.

If you believe a loved one has been abused in a nursing home, we can help. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a ​San Diego elder abuse lawyer​ today by ​contacting us​.

Physical Abuse

Unfortunately, physical abuse in nursing homes is widespread due to the fact that many, if not all, nursing home residents have cognitive and/or physical impairments that inhibit them from defending themselves from perpetrators. Additionally, those suffering from physical abuse often do not tell their loved ones out of fear of retaliation, and thus it goes unnoticed.

Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that may result in bodily injury or pain. Such abuse can happen to any elderly patient in a nursing home regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or race. The injuries that a nursing home resident may suffer as a result of physical abuse can be very serious and sometimes fatal, as many elders are fragile. Any sort of intentional physical harm to an elderly individual may be considered a form of physical abuse. ​The most common signs of physical abuse within a nursing home appear directly on the elder’s body and include the following unexplained injuries:

  • Bruising, especially on or around the arms and hands
  • Dislocated Joints
  • Sprains
  • Broken Bones
  • Hair or Tooth Loss
  • Burns (from cigarettes or appliances)

Emotional Abuse

Not all of these indicators may be physically present as well, because forms of abuse such as physical abuse, often trigger an emotional response from the elderly individual which may present as the following:

  • An injury’s explanation that is not straightforward, or the “facts” change
  • A strained relationship between the elder and the caregiver
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Easily agitated
  • Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Uneasiness around a certain individual out of fear
  • Shrinking from physical contact
  • Efforts to flee the nursing home or certain care
  • Avoidance of assistance when it comes to bathing, changing, or showering

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in nursing homes in California is increasing. Sexual contact without consent and violent or forced sexual contact constitutes abuse. Nursing home residents are weak and defenseless and unfortunately are often easy prey for sexual predators. The sexual predator could be another resident at the facility, an employee of the facility, or a visitor at the facility. When a nursing home resident is weak and unable to resist or unable to speak, the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring increases. Nursing home residents can be sexually abused by a resident, stranger, or employee. Sexual abuse against an elderly individual can be perpetrated in a variety of ways including anything from unwanted touching all the way to an extreme, such as rape.

Fortunately, even though sexual abuse can be well concealed, you will have a much better chance of saving your loved one from a sexually abusive environment if you know what to look out for. There are several indicators that an elder is being sexually abused. Signs of abuse include:

  • Development of a pelvic injury
  • Problems walking or sitting
  • Contracting a sexually transmitted disease or STD
  • Torn, bloody, or stained underwear
  • Bruises on the genital area or inner thighs
  • Bleeding from the anus or genitals
  • Irritation or discomfort of the anus or genitals
  • Unusual outbursts of aggression coupled with references to someone doing “bad things” or being “nasty” to the elder
  • An increase in flirtatious and sexually suggestive behavior
  • Unusual hostility towards male caregivers and other males

Healthcare Abuse

Another indicator that a loved one may be suffering from abuse within a nursing home has to do with their health care, and includes the following:

  • Multiple hospitalizations for a recurring injury
  • Multiple hospitalizations at different locations to ensure the pattern of abuse goes undetected
  • No care at all for an injury that an elder receives
  • Cover up for an injury that an elder receives instead of seeking treatment
  • A delay in care for an injury an elder receives for an unexplained reason

Healthcare is essential for the elder’s quality of life, as well as their longevity. It is of great importance that elders receive the medical care they need. If this right is suspended or even denied, the nursing home is at fault and should be held responsible for their reckless actions.

Financial Abuse

Unfortunately, elderly individuals are at an increased risk for many types of neglect and abuse, including financial abuse. Elder financial abuse applies to anyone over the age of 65 in California. The individual does not need to have any sort of diminished mental capacity, as any form of financial abuse against an elder is actionable under California law. Financial abuse can take many forms and is not limited to an elder simply giving money away to a perpetrator that is unduly influencing them. Financial elder abuse can include a wide range of scenarios, from an elder unknowingly signing their rights to their property away, or even being coerced or deceived into making bad investments.

Elder financial abuse is a serious problem that happens often as a result of many elderly individuals having mental impairments or lapses of judgment that often come with old age. The perpetrators then use this against the elder and prey on them for their money. Taking money, property, stocks or other assets from an elderly individual or deceiving them for one’s financial benefit is a serious problem and needs to be dealt with.

Financial abuse against an elder is sometimes hard to recognize, and can go unnoticed. If you have a loved one that is incapable of properly handling their money, it is important to recognize this and take action so that perpetrators cannot get their hands on your loved one’s finances. One way to combat financial elder abuse is to obtain power of attorney for an elder that is incapable of handling their own financial matters. Here are some of the most common signs that financial elder abuse is occurring:

  • Canceled checks or bank statements that go to the perpetrator’s home
  • Large bank withdrawals or transfers between different accounts without explanation or reason
  • Eviction notices, evidence of unpaid bills or utilities being discontinued due to nonpayment
  • The perpetrator acts as though they and the elder are in a relationship, or have a friendship between them, even if they hardly know each other
  • The elderly person’s care is substandard, even though they should be able to afford better
  • There are ATM withdrawals the elderly person did not or simply could not have made, or other withdrawals
  • The elderly person is coerced into signing powers of attorney or other legal documents that they had little to no understanding of
  • The perpetrator presents an obsessive level of interest when it comes to the elder’s expenditures
  • Persons who the elder barely knows are added to the elder’s bank accounts
  • The elder is missing belongings and/or property with no clear explanation
  • Forgeries are found upon legal documents or checks
  • Financial arrangements are vague and have little to no paper trail or documentation
  • The perpetrator’s explanations of the elder’s finances do not seem plausible or in the elder’s best interest, or the story is simply fabricated
  • The elderly individual is completely unaware or lacking key knowledge of their current financial situation
  • If you have recognized any of these signs of abuse with regard to your loved one in a nursing home facility, do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Bryant today. Your hesitation could be the difference in whether or not your loved one is safe, and their abusers are held responsible.

What are signs to look for in a person that may make them more likely to commit elder abuse?

There are many factors that may result in an increased risk of a perpetrator abusing an elderly individual. Such factors include but are not limited to the following:

  • Depressed or overall saddened mood given off by the caregiver
  • Lack of assistance from other potential caregivers
  • A caregiver with a mindset that the elderly individual is purely a burden, and has no  emotional attachment to them
  • Abuse of substances by the caregiver
  • Isolation: The elderly individual is often alone with the same caregiver
  • The relationship between the elder and caregiver previously, if any
  • A history of domestic violence in the home of the caregiver
  • The inability of a caregiver to look beyond any sort of verbal abuse that the elderly patient may be exposing them to
  • Unreasonable amounts of responsibility put onto the caregiver resulting in an abundance of emotional stress
  • Lack of sufficient experience among the caregiver or training
  • Poor working conditions or environment that results in the caregiver reaching their wits’ end

It is important to ensure that the individuals providing a loved one with care are truly passionate about what they do and feel rightfully compensated for their work. It is also important to support care providers and be sure that they have adequate breaks. After all, taking care of an elderly patient is never easy and can sometimes be as emotionally frustrating as it is otherwise rewarding.

What Should I do if I Suspect that a Loved one is being Abused?

If you suspect that your family member may be the victim of nursing home abuse notify the nursing home administrator immediately. The administrator is required to investigate and report it to the state agency. Additionally, you should contact an experienced California elder abuse attorney such Joel Bryant. Mr. Bryant is committed to helping bring justice to the elderly and their families. He will also be able to assist you and your loved one navigate the legal process and the courts in order to get your loved one and other residents out of harm’s way, as well as get justice for the suffering your loved one endured.

Why Should I Hire Attorney Joel Bryant?

Nursing home neglect and abuse must be stopped, and the owners of nursing homes are responsible if a resident in their care becomes the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. If one of your loved ones was abused in a nursing home, ​contact ​Attorney Bryant and his team today. It is important for loved one’s to speak out on behalf of their elderly family members because many times, elderly individuals are unable to speak up out of fear, embarrassment, isolation, or diseases such as Alzheimer’s that leave them more vulnerable to being abused. Mr. Bryant and his experienced team of ​San Diego elder abuse attorneys can help recover the compensation you deserve. Their legal assistance will ensure that your loved one is no longer abused and that the perpetrators are held responsible for their actions. Mr. Bryant and his team have been one of the top elder abuse firms in San Diego for over 30 years and they are committed to helping you navigate the legal process and will get you and your loved one the justice that is rightfully deserved. Reach out today for a free, confidential consultation to see if your loved one’s case justifies legal action.

Attorney Joel Bryant is committed to helping the elderly and their families. If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse at their nursing home, contact Joel Bryant today at ​(619) 239-7900​ for a ​free consultation.

Signs of nursing abuse that should
be immediately investigated include

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures
  • Bedsores
  • Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections; vaginal or anal bleeding; torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of weight or appetite
  • Any sudden behavioral change
  • Staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitors or refusing to allow visitors to see resident
  • Specific complaints by residents
  • Loss of resident's possessions
  • Sudden changes in bank accounts, will, trust, or other financial documents

Mental Abuse

  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Unusual behavior patterns
  • Confusion
  • Not willing to communicate
  • Derogatory, humiliating comments by staff

Physical Abuse

  • Bruises, welts, swelling
  • Broken bones
  • Sudden loss of weight
  • Wounds, cuts, burns
  • Hidden injuries

Neglect and Abuse

  • Bed sores (decubitus ulcers)
  • Malnutrition
  • Unsanitary environment
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Fecal or urine odor
  • Lack of assistance with eating and drinking
  • Missing money or property
  • Sudden changes in personal and financial affairs

If any of these warning signs of abuse or neglect exist with your loved one please contact me, Attorney Joel Bryant, today. I offer a no-charge consultation and accept injury cases on contingency, meaning my fees are paid only from the money I recover by settlement or in court, otherwise, there is no fee. Please call me today at (619) 239-7900 for a free legal consultation.

“Joel and his team were the help I needed to approach the nursing home that didn’t take good care of my grandmother. With Joel’s help, my grandmother was fairly compensated for the injuries she suffered as a result of the nursing home’s neglect and abuse.”

Andrea C.

“When one of the most tragic events happened in my life, Joel Bryant and Jason Julius were there for me when I needed someone the most. They both were very professional, honest, compassionate, and supportive."

Brent R.

“Joel was amazingly accessible, by phone, email and often, in person, and still is. He is a professional with an understanding heart, and a sense of humor. I still feel very fortunate to have had him on my side.”

Michelle B.
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