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Making the difficult decision to put your loved one in a nursing home is never easy. Although a nursing home will never be able to fully replace all the comforts of home, it should be able to provide the highest quality of care that every individual deserves.

When a nursing home fails to do that, either intentionally or through neglect, it could be a case of nursing home abuse. When it is, family members need to step in and contact a Durham nursing home abuse lawyer.

Types of Abuse

Physical abuse is the type most often thought of when people envision nursing home abuse. While physical abuse can occur in nursing homes, there are other types of abuse that may also be present.

  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Neglect

Signs of Abuse

Depending on the type of abuse, there may be different signs to look for. Often residents of the nursing home will not speak up about the abuse themselves, either because they are unaware that it is happening, or because they are ashamed. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that family members are regularly looking for the following signs of abuse and contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Durham right away if they see the signs.

Physical Abuse

  • Bedsores, especially those that are red and/or infected, indicating they have been left untreated
  • Cuts and bruises, especially in areas that would indicate restraints had been used, such as around the wrists or ankles
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Pests such as fleas or lice in the room
  • Neglected personal hygiene

Emotional Abuse

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sudden anger, particularly when there is no apparent reason for it
  • Withdrawal from family members or social situations
  • Strange behavior or behavior that has not been exhibited before

Financial Abuse

  • Transfer of funds to individuals that are not family members
  • Changes in the resident’s will, particularly when there does not seem to be a reason for it
  • Bank withdrawals not made by the resident or a family member
  • Items suddenly go missing from resident’s room

Neglect

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Resident suddenly becomes non-communicative
  • Infection
  • Injuries or sicknesses that have been left untreated
  • Resident has been left to wander off the premises

In cases of nursing home abuse, time is of the absolute essence, as the individual’s health may be at severe risk. When abuse is suspected, it is important that family members contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Durham as soon as possible.

Steps to Stop Abuse

After discovering nursing home abuse has taken place, family members want to do whatever they can to stop it as soon as possible. And due to the urgency of the situation, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do next. Following the below steps can help.

  • Get medical treatment for the resident. There is nothing more important than a loved one’s health. When any type of abuse is suspected, it is important to seek medical treatment right away, even if the suspected abuse was not physical.
  • Document it. Proving liability is a big part of nursing home abuse cases and for that, documentation will be needed. Pictures should be taken of any injuries and/or the conditions of the room, and witness statements should be recorded from the other nursing home residents or staff.
  • Find a new home. Once nursing home abuse is suspected, the victim of the abuse should be moved to another facility or home as soon as possible. This may take time and in some instances, the nursing home staff might not allow them to be removed. In these cases, families need to contact a Durham nursing home abuse attorney.
  • Report it. People need to be held responsible when they do not care properly for those left in their care. For this reason, the abuse needs to be reported immediately to the police and other authorities.

Working with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Nursing home abuse can be devastating to the victim and to the victim’s families, and it can be difficult to fight it and get compensation on your own. A Durham nursing home abuse lawyer has the experience needed to fight these cases in court, and get victims the compensation they deserve.