Nursing homes play a critical role in providing care to elderly loved ones when they can no longer live independently. While many nursing homes deliver quality care, nursing home abuse is a growing concern, with approximately 43.2% of all elder mistreatment complaints against nursing staff substantiated.
It is essential for family members and friends to be vigilant and observant when visiting their loved ones in nursing homes.
Listening carefully to what your loved one says during your visits is important, as certain phrases might be subtle indicators of nursing home neglect or abuse. Victims of abuse may hesitate to speak up due to fear, shame, or threats from their abuser.
Being aware of any changes in their demeanor, phrasing, or expressions of fear or discomfort can help you identify they are experiencing abuse and get them the help they need.
Phrases that can indicate neglect or abuse are occurring may include:
- “I don’t like [staff member’s name].”
- “They’re always so rough with me.”
- “I don’t want to cause any trouble.”
- “I’m always hungry/thirsty.”
- “I haven’t had a bath in days.”
- “They never help me with [personal care tasks].”
- “My belongings keep going missing.”
- “The staff is always yelling at me.”
- “I don’t like it when [staff member’s name] is on duty.”
- “I’m always in pain.”
Your family member may have a physical or mental health condition that prevents them from verbally communicating nursing home abuse. There are several non-verbal behaviors you can look for that may indicate mistreatment.
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones
- Rapid weight loss or dehydration, which could be a sign of neglect
- Changes in behavior, such as increased anxiety, depression, or withdrawal
- Refusal to speak in front of staff members or reluctance to be left alone with a specific caregiver
- Unsanitary living conditions, such as dirty clothes or bedding or a foul odor in the room
- Overmedication or changes in medication without explanation
- Signs of physical restraint, such as marks on the wrists or ankles
- Poor hygiene, including unwashed hair or body, or untreated sores or infections
- Lack of mobility aids, such as walkers or wheelchairs, when they are needed
- Financial exploitation, such as missing money or unauthorized use of credit cards
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, taking action is crucial. Begin documenting your concerns as soon as you notice changes in your loved one, noting any specific incidents or conversations that raise red flags.
Louisiana’s Adult Protective Services (APS) can assist with filing a report of suspected elderly abuse. APS is a social services program that protects vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The APS website also contains resources for evaluating nursing home facilities for former violations or complaints.
To file a report or access the long-term ombudsman program for Louisiana, visit the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs. You can call the Elderly Protective Services (EPS) hotline at 1-833-577-6532 to report your complaint and have the case investigated by EPS.
You may also want to seek legal counsel. A personal injury attorney from Dudley DeBosier can help you investigate the facility owner, administrator, staff member, or provider who harmed your loved one. They can advise you of your options for holding the perpetrators accountable, file a report with Louisiana EPS, and seek restitution for your elderly relative.
If you believe your loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in a Louisiana nursing home, seek help as soon as possible. The compassionate attorneys at Dudley DeBosier are dedicated to fighting for the rights of the elderly and their families.
With an attorney’s legal guidance and expertise, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one’s safety and well-being are our top priority. Our Louisiana personal injury lawyers will help you hold those responsible for the abuse accountable and seek restitution for your loved one.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you protect your loved one from nursing home abuse and neglect.
This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.
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