When you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a nursing home, it can be difficult to identify signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse. Under some circumstances, it might seem as though there are logical explanations for certain indicators of abuse or neglect, while in other situations, the signs and symptoms of abuse simply might not be obvious. While it is critical for friends and family members of nursing home residents to know how to spot indicators of abuse, it is also important to remember that residents may be able to provide key information about neglect or negligence taking place at the nursing home. Although seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia may not be able to voice their concerns directly, certain questions may be able to provide helpful information.
When you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should learn about the types of questions you can ask to identify indications of abuse. The following types of questions may be able to reveal abuse or neglect.
Questions Concerning Daily Activities
You should ask questions about your loved one’s daily activities, including planned group activities at the nursing home, hobbies, and activities of daily living. Your loved one should be able to answer these questions without obvious hesitation and should be able to provide you with details about staff members involved in these activities.
Questions Concerning Emotional and Intellectual Engagement with Staff Members
Who does your loved one interact with from the nursing home daily, and do they show any signs of agitation or fear when discussing a particular staff member? If you have concerns, you should ask follow-up questions and, if necessary, seek advice from a lawyer about how to move forward with a report of abuse or neglect.
Questions Concerning Physical Abuse and Inappropriate Touching
If you have an elderly loved one with any signs of physical abuse—such as bruising, cuts or lacerations, scratches, burns, restraint marks, or broken bones—you should ask questions about how the injuries occurred. When your loved one’s answers do not provide the full story, you should seek help.
Indirect Questions Concerning Safety and General Well-Being
Stanford Medicine emphasizes that health care providers should learn key questions to ask patients when there is a potential for abuse, but those questions can also help friends and family members to identify potential problems in a nursing home. In particular, Stanford Health recommends certain indirect questions that may be able to reveal the possibility of abuse or neglect in nursing home residents who suffer from cognitive impairments (even if they cannot answer direct questions about abuse or neglect). Some of those questions to consider include:
- Do you currently feel safe in your living environment?
- Who helps you with bathing or dressing?
- Who helps you with your food and medications?
The answers that your elderly loved one gives to these questions may suggest that the quality of care is insufficient, or that a staff member has engaged in passive neglect or intentional abuse. With these indirect questions, according to Stanford Health, any concerning responses should be taken seriously and investigated.
Contact a Riverside County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you have questions or concerns about how to identify abuse or neglect affecting an elderly loved one, an experienced Riverside County nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about our services.
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