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What are examples and signs of nursing home neglect and abuse?

When it is necessary to place a loved one in a Missouri nursing home, it is not a decision that family members take lightly. It can be difficult to care for an elderly person and there comes a point where it is not personally and economically feasible to continue trying to do so. It is often for the best for everyone involved. However, there are unfortunate instances when nursing home abuse takes place. Family members need to know how to recognize the signs of abuse and act upon it. If a family member was injured or died because of nursing home abuse, it could be the foundation for a legal filing.

Abuse is when there is emotional, sexual or physical harm to a person in a facility. It can also include financial exploitation. Neglect is another form of mistreatment. If the staff at a facility fails to provide the services that they are contractually obligated to which causes the person to be in danger or become ill, injured or have other negative consequences to their welfare, then the nursing home staff has committed neglect.

People in a nursing home are vulnerable to financial abuse. Staff at a facility deceiving, intimidating, or forcing an elderly person to give control of property and depriving the elderly person of it for their own use has committed financial exploitation. Another common problem in facilities is bullying. Harassing or intimidating a resident and causing them to be fearful that their physical safety is in danger or their property can be taken is illegal. There are numerous aspects to this that can extend from the physical to the written.

Residents have various rights including being protected from abuse, knowing about their medical condition, having control over who their physician is, refusing treatment, expressing grievances and more. If a person who is residing in a nursing home has unexplained injuries, become ill unexpectedly, has changes in behavior, or complains of being mistreated, it must be investigated. Family members need to be cognizant of their rights and what might constitute abuse. When this has happened or there is suspicion it has happened, it is also imperative to speak to an experienced attorney to discuss a case for nursing home neglect.

Source: health.mo.gov, "Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of the Elderly and Disabled," accessed on Aug. 1, 2017

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