Nursing home abuse takes many forms, and it is often devastating and traumatic for the victim and their loved ones when it is finally discovered. Unfortunately, there are far too many cases of nursing home abuse in Charleston, South Carolina, that go undiscovered and unreported for far too long. It is important for those with loved ones in nursing homes to recognize the signs of abuse and to know how to report it when it happens. In fact, you should report it even if you simply suspect that it may be happening. Many people will simply remove their loved ones from a nursing home when they suspect abuse. This is not a bad move, but it is important to also report the suspected abuse.
How Do You Know if Your Loved One or Anyone Else is Being Abused in a Nursing Home?
In some cases, the family of a loved one in a nursing home will visit frequently and will never see any indications that their loved one is being abused. However, they may notice that someone else in the nursing home facility may be being abused. Not everyone gets regular visits from family in a nursing home, and you may be the only witness to the crime against someone you may not even know. Whether it is your own loved one or someone you don’t know personally, you need to report any indications of nursing home abuse in Charleston, South Carolina. So, what kinds of abuse should you be on the lookout for and what are the indications that such abuse is occurring?
Different Kinds of Abuse that May Occur in Charleston, South Carolina Nursing Homes
The different kinds of abuse that may occur in even the best of Charleston, South Carolina nursing homes include physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, mental abuse, and even financial abuse. Physical abuse could include being hit, punched, or kicked. In some cases, physical or chemical restraints are used to immobilize the victim without a justifiable cause. Neglect can result in falls, malnutrition, dehydration, refusal to provide medications, refusing to wash and care for the patient, or bed sores.
Sexual abuse is one of the most underreported because the victims are frequently chosen by the perpetrator because of their vulnerability. This means that the victims may not be able or willing to report the abuse. Any sexual act with any nursing home patient who is not able to consent due to physical or mental limitations is considered to be sexual abuse. Mental abuse is also underreported because there is often no physical evidence that it has occurred. It can include being yelled at, put down, demoralized, and isolated from others. Financial abuse involves the theft of money, property, or identity of the elderly patient who may not be aware of it or able to stop it.
What Signs Should You Keep an Eye Out For to Identify Nursing Home Abuse in Charleston, SC?
It is essential to be aware of what signs you need to keep an eye out for when it comes to nursing home abuse in Charleston, South Carolina. Even if you are not 100% confident that abuse is occurring, you should report any suspicion and any of the following signs and indications:
- Dehydration – You may notice that the person has dry skin, has cracked lips, and is eager for any water that you offer them.
- Malnutrition – You may notice that the person is losing weight, appears weak, and is eager for any food that you offer them.
- Neglect – You may notice that the person has bed sores if you look for them, has poor hygiene, is in a dirty living environment, or has not been moved from one position.
- Mood and Behavior Changes – You may notice that the person is fearful, depressed, or anxious.
- Sexual Abuse Indicators – You may discover that the person has a venereal disease, infections, or bleeding around their vaginal or anal areas.
- Over-Sedation – You may notice that the person is always groggy or always asleep.
- Physical Violence – You may notice that the person has unexplained bruising or cuts, unexplained fractures, burns, sprains, or that the person is fearful of staff, and not allowed time alone with loved ones.
- Financial Abuse – You may notice that the person’s bank account is suddenly depleted, that wills and other financial and insurance documents are suddenly changed, or that the person is missing valuable possessions.
It is important for you to visit often when you have a loved one in a nursing home and to occasionally show up unexpectedly. This will ensure that the nursing home caregivers do not have time to remove evidence of abuse or prepare for your visit. It is also helpful to check up on other nursing home residents who do not have the same family support as your loved one does. Many people will only attend to their own loved ones and consider others to be none of their business or concern. Yet, when you keep an eye out for nursing home abuse in the most at-risk residents (those without family support), you not only ensure that others are not victims of abuse; but you also ensure that your own loved one is not in an abusive environment. You can also take the time to communicate with the caregivers, get to know them, and build relationships with the staff. This can help you to get an idea of who is providing your loved one’s care and how committed they are to their calling.
Reporting Your Suspicions of Nursing Home Abuse in Charleston, South Carolina
If you have any suspicions that anyone is being abused in a Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home, then you need to report your concerns immediately. You can do this by contacting the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. They will investigate all claims that are reported via phone or mail. If you are wrong, then you have done no harm, as the investigation will reveal that no abuse is occurring. If you are right, then you are saving lives and improving the quality of life of countless patients, including those whom you personally love and care about. After reporting your concerns, you can do much more than simply remove your loved one from the facility. You can also contact the dedicated nursing home abuse attorneys in Charleston at the David Aylor Law Offices to schedule a free consultation and find out how you can pursue justice and compensation.