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4 things you should know about nursing home abuse and neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect are problems that no senior citizen should have to deal with. Unfortunately, some nursing home staff members choose to take advantage of a vulnerable population. Senior citizens and their families usually only turn to nursing home care when they are truly reliant on others to help them with daily activities.

You should know these four things about abuse and neglect that occur in nursing home and senior living environments.

#1: Nursing home abuse and neglect comes in many forms

A common form of nursing home abuse and neglect is physical neglect and abuse. Senior citizens in nursing facilities can also suffer from financial, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse. Medical neglect is possible as well. Unscrupulous people can cause harm or pain in many aspects of the senior citizen's life.

#2: Some signs of nursing home abuse and neglect might be hard to see

While it is fairly easy to see bruises and other marks that are likely to come with physical abuse, signs of other forms of abuse aren't that easy to spot. A resident might suddenly seem withdrawn. This is a sign of dementia, but can also be a sign of emotional or verbal abuse.

Frequent falls, lax medical care, unclean bedding, inappropriate clothing for the weather and inappropriate restraining are other signs of elder abuse and neglect. Even dehydration, malnutrition and failing to get medications on time are signs to watch for.

#3: Filing a report launches an investigation

You can file a report regarding your suspicions with Adult Protective Services (APS). If the situation is an emergency, contact emergency services. Once you file a report with APS, authorities will investigate.

Authorities normally begin the investigation in 24 hours if the situation is deemed an emergency. Other reports might take longer to look into. You can also contact the nursing home administrators if you have a complaint about specific employees or circumstances.

#4: Seeking compensation for nursing home abuse or neglect is possible

A senior citizen who suffers harm because of nursing home neglect or abuse can seek compensation for the injury or damage. A senior's family could help him or her find a new nursing home and/or get the medical and mental health care they need to move past the abuse and neglect.

In a lawsuit, possible defendants include employees, nursing homes, administrators and other parties that could have taken steps to prevent the incidents. Talk to an attorney if you think you might have a case.

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