How to Spot Signs of Elder Abuse – Before It’s Too Late

by | Mar 27, 2012 | Lawyers and Law Firms

The headlines are horrifying: Elderly or infirm persons left malnourished, confined to beds without proper hygienic care, or even beaten. For families with loved ones living in an assisted-care facility or nursing home, lack of proper patient care is a constant fear. In extreme circumstances, neglect or abuse can even end in wrongful death and lawyer involvement. If you suspect a relative of a Palm Coast facility may be a victim, a qualified lawyer can help you determine whether your case fits the legal definition of abuse. You can keep things from getting to the point of litigation, however, by taking some steps to prevent nursing home neglect. It starts with simply being aware of the warning signs.

One of the earliest warning signs of abuse is the appearance of a strained relationship between elders and their caregivers. The caregivers’ refusal to let you visit with your relative unsupervised can be a huge red flag. Keep an eye out for bruises or marks that are symmetrical. Check wrists and ankles to make sure there are no marks that could indicate the use of restraints. More subtle signs might include broken eyeglasses or frames and frequently missed medication. Additionally, if your insurance company is being billed for treatments or medications for which you have no evidence, it’s probably time to start asking questions. Abuse of older adults can sometimes result in behavior that mimics dementia, although not every change in personality or behavior means something sinister is occurring. As lawyers know all too well, signs of abuse are usually in evidence for some time. If you’re the least bit concerned, take steps before anything serious – even a wrongful death – is the outcome.

Neglect is more difficult to detect than abuse, but as a result is more often the cause of wrongful death in nursing homes. If your loved one is often inappropriately dressed for the weather, suffers from bed sores, or has recently had significant weight loss, you may want to monitor their care more closely. When visiting your older family member, check medications, and make sure that the quantity in the bottle is consistent with the prescription date and the dosage. One of the best steps you can take to prevent neglect is to make regular, unscheduled visits with your family member, as well as maintain frequent communication with the Palm Coast facility’s staff.

It’s always better to keep things from getting to the stage where a wrongful deathlawyer in Palm Coast is needed. With proper attention and care, you can prevent the abuse of your older family member living in a Palm Coast nursing home or assisted living facility.

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