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How to spot nursing home negligence and abuse

It is never easy to decide to seek nursing home care for an elderly loved one. However, when he or she needs around-the-clock care, it might be the only option. Sadly, nursing home negligence and abuse are as prevalent in Maryland as in other states. Neglect and mistreatment come in different forms, and they are not usually easy to spot, but looking out for specific signs and red flags might help.

Broken bones, bruises, dislocations, sprains and sudden tooth or hair loss that do not fit the explanations are often the first signs of physical abuse. When it comes to neglect, red flags include unusual weight loss, soiled diapers, dressed in dirty clothes and bedsores. Also, the lack of easy access to a hearing aid, glasses, cane or other necessary medical aids could indicate neglect.

Even though it is unthinkable, vulnerable seniors are often victims of sexual abuse. Signs to look out for include bruising around genital areas and breasts, rectal or vaginal bleeding, discomfort or difficulty when walking, standing or sitting and withdrawn behavior. The most challenging type of abuse to spot is emotional or verbal. It can involve anything from verbal insults and taunting to threats of isolation or physical harm through aggressive verbal attacks, and apathy and withdrawal often indicate such abuse.

Nursing home negligence and abuse could also involve financial exploitation. Tell-tale signs can include unpaid bills, increased credit card use, unusual purchases or cash withdrawals, and also be on the lookout for added authorized users of cards or bank accounts. The best time to take action is at the first suspicion of neglect or abuse. An attorney who has experience in dealing with such cases in Maryland can assess the circumstances and suggest the legal options available to resolve the issues and hold responsible parties accountable.

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