The words “nursing home abuse” often serve to conjure images of physical or sexual violence. And indeed, these things do happen in nursing homes across the country with alarming regularity, making their specter all the more terrifying.
Violence, however, for all of its awfulness, does not always leave marks. This makes knowing the behavioral changes that can accompany nursing home abuse all the more important.
If you suspect a loved one is being mistreated, even in the absence of physical evidence, it can be useful to contact a nursing home abuse attorney who can investigate your claim, verify or dispel your concerns, and help you choose the best path forward for your family.
What to Look For
Behavioral changes are sometimes just a part of the aging process. They are common in adults with dementia, but can easily occur in anyone entering their twilight years. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, asking questions about their experiences can help you differentiate between these behavioral changes and those brought about by mistreatment.
Some of the biggest indicators of abuse are increased aggression and anxiety. These things may occur around nursing home staff or become ever-present, but a sudden increase in nervousness or anger may indicate some sort of abuse.
Depression, apathy, and a withdrawal from the larger nursing home community are also common changes that occur following abuse. These may come with visible discomfort around certain staff members or an unwillingness to share experiences.
New and concerning behaviors such as rocking back and forth, biting nails, twisting hair, and general jitteriness may indicate nursing home abuse. It is uncommon to adopt new habits rapidly. Watch for signs of these changes and report them if they seem concerning.
What to Do
If you find evidence of abuse or if you strongly believe evidence exists, the first step is talking to nursing home administrators. Seldom is nursing home abuse systemic. If management can identify the culprit, the problem can often be resolved quickly.
If you fail to get an adequate response from administrators, it’s a good idea to call an attorney for a case review. This will help you determine your next best steps and can prove useful in getting your loved one justice.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse in Tennessee, please call Herbert Thornbury, Esquire at 423-752-0544 to schedule a complimentary case review right away. Located in Chattanooga, Mr. Thornbury fights for victims of abuse throughout the state.