Nursing Home Abuse – Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is unfortunate, prevalent reality in nursing homes around the country. Nursing home residents are far more likely to encounter abuse than their counterparts living at home. This is an issue that has been around for a long time but has only come to light in the past few decades. The effects of elderly abuse have the potential to significantly change the quality of life for senior citizens for the rest of their lives.
There is a wide variety of factors that contribute to physical nursing home abuse. Residents of nursing home facilities are generally more susceptible to injury and illness. They are also generally more alone, as many do not see loved ones or visitors frequently. The sad reality is that many of these residents are vulnerable and left to the complete control of their abusers with nowhere to turn and no means of getting out of their situation.
Effects of Physical Abuse
Physical manifestations of abuse may be immediate or may take time to develop. More immediate effects of physical nursing home abuse may include things like bruises, cuts, or wounds. Seniors may also incur fractured or dislocated bones or other internal injuries such as internal bleeding. Signs of physical abuse may include chronic pain or soreness, or head, neck & back injuries as well. It can be difficult to ascertain which injuries are clear signs of abuse when someone is old and frail and may be susceptible to injuries from daily activities. However, things like black eyes, welts, and broken bones are likely symptoms of abuse.
The effects of physical abuse may not be so immediate, though. Some of the effects will take a bit longer to show up and may end up having much worse long-term effects on the elder in question. Things like extreme weight loss or weight gain associated with malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, insomnia, and a growing vulnerability to infection or illness are all symptoms of abuse that may take a while to surface.
The Psychological Toll of Physical Abuse
Physical abuse doesn’t just leave physical effects. The psychological toll that physical abuse takes on someone can, in a lot of ways, be even more damaging than the bruises or broken bones a person endures. Elderly people may develop extreme anxiety or depression, eating disorders, hopelessness, agitation, or just an overall decline in mental health and stability. They will stop trusting others—even those who want to help them, and may become despondent.
This is why it’s up to all of us—family members, physicians, caregivers, nurses, staff members, government workers, and the legal community alike—to stand up to the abuse of the elderly. If you or a loved one have been victimized by a nursing home in some way, please do not hesitate to contact Scott DeSalvo.
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