A very disturbing case of nursing home abuse came out of Lowell, Massachusetts this week. Two employees of the Wingate at Belvidere Nursing Home were accused of abusing elderly residents and posting videos of the abuse on the social media application Snapchat. Local prosecutors obtained multiple videos including one showing an employee asking an elderly patient about drug use and sex and another showing an employee loudly scaring an elderly patient while she was sleeping. It’s another unfortunate incident that is part of an underreported national trend. A study from the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that as many as one third of nursing homes had some form of elderly patient abuse over a two year period. That means that there may be around 2 million cases of nursing home abuse or neglect annually in the United States.
What are Some Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Most of the time nursing home abuse and neglect is not displayed on social media. In more typical cases, finding the signs of staff abuse or neglect can be a difficult task. The abuse and neglect is often well hidden. Some common signs to watch for include, but are not limited to:
- An unexplained and sudden loss of weight
- The appearance of bed sores
- Bruises or injuries that the staff can not explain
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Soiled bedsheets or poor patient hygiene
- Patient agitation or emotional withdrawal
- Patient complaints of poor or unfair treatment
I See Signs of Abuse, What Do I Do Now?
If you see signs of potential abuse, do not hesitate to take action. This is true even if you lack definitive proof that abuse or neglect has taken place. Definitive proof can be notoriously difficult obtain in these cases and it is important to start taking steps to help ensure the safety of your loved one. Reporting any suspected abuse or neglect is always the first step. You may want to contact Texas Adult Protective Services to use their resources to help you take immediate action if you feel that a vulnerable loved one is at risk or is currently suffering. You should also contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. A qualified attorney will be an ally and will help you get justice by holding the offending parties accountable for their unacceptable actions.
Unfortunately, with how common nursing home abuse remains, many of our elderly loved ones still suffer tremendously. Placing a loved one into the care of a nursing home is an extremely difficult decision and high quality and compassionate care is rightly expected. If you believe your loved one is a victim of abuse or low quality negligent care, you owe it to them to contact an attorney experienced in helping patients suffering nursing home abuse. We can help you rectify the situation and get your loved one the care they need and deserve. If you find yourself in this situation contact our office for a free consultation and case evaluation today.