Nursing home patients are very vulnerable to abuse due to their dependence on their caregivers. There are many forms of abuse to which many nursing home patients are susceptible. While we trust our loved ones into the care of professional nursing home staff, we must always be on the lookout for signs of abuse.
Abuse can take many different forms, including physical, sexual, neglect, emotional, financial, and insurance fraud. Physical and sexual abuse, along with neglect, often leaves physical warning signs on the victim themselves. Signs of physical and sexual abuse can be unexplained injuries such as bruises, scabs, sprained and swollen joints, broken bones, and unexplained sexually transmitted illnesses. Signs of neglect can be lack of food, deteriorating hygiene, dirty clothing and living space, bedsores, and a surplus of unused medication.
Abuse in which there are less obvious signs require loved ones to be particularly mindful of the patient's surroundings. Signs of emotional abuse can be a sudden change in the patient's behavior and a lack of interest in their normal social activities. This can mean heightened anxiety or fear towards strangers and even loved ones. Furthermore, be on the lookout for aggressive caregivers or staff members that isolate patients from their friends and family.
Another form of abuse that is common, but not as obvious, is financial abuse. Financial abuse is when a caregiver takes advantage of the patient's monetary funds for their own, personal use. Signs of financial abuse can be unpaid bills, sudden lack of funds, extravagant gifts towards strangers or caregivers, the release of financial control toward a non-family caregiver, and unforeseen or unexpected money transfers and transactions.
Healthcare fraud occurs when a nursing home or caregiver takes advantage of the patient's health insurance provider and the patient's vulnerability. Healthcare fraud can be very hard to determine, but be wary of signs such as excessive and unnecessary medical treatment or medical equipment, unwarranted diagnostics, billing the insurance company for services that were never rendered, or the nursing home's lack of explanation for treatment.
If you believe that a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, contact your local authorities right away, and then call an experienced Virginia nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. The attorneys at Portner & Shure have years of experience handling nursing home and abuse cases and advise clients to start collecting as much evidence as soon as possible. Calling an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help you determine the right kind of evidence you need and an attorney can guide and assist you with your claim.