As the baby boomer population in the United States continues to age, a percentage of individuals will likely enter nursing homes as their health and cognitive abilities decline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that as of 2016, there are approximately just under two million beds available in these facilities. However, some are understaffed and residents may suffer elder abuse. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, there are a few common types of abuse you may want to watch for.
One type of abuse that seems to be on the rise is resident-on-resident abuse. This occurs when one resident of a nursing home physically, verbally, or emotionally assault another. Your loved one may show unexplained bruising, shrink away from being touched and appear withdrawn when the abuse reaches moderate to severe levels.
Physical neglect might happen in nursing home facilities that are short on staff, do not pay well or are non-profit. With this type of abuse, your loved one may not smell clean, his or her incontinence diapers may not be changed as often as needed. You may see bed sores on the legs or back. If your family member can vocalize, he or she may tell you about the pain.
Emotional abuse can be common in nursing homes, especially if the residents in question cannot fight back. Name-calling, mocking and teasing can all occur. Your loved one may withdraw and appear depressed if the abuse is not addressed.
While not all types of nursing home abuse are deadly, they can have a negative mental impact that can cause your loved one’s health to decline rapidly.