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More Than Abuse: How Else Do Patients Get Hurt in Nursing Homes?


The internet and the news media are filled with horrific stories of the elderly and infirm, being abused in nursing homes. Often, these stories are accompanied by video, showing someone from the nursing home physically abusing an infirm resident.

But while horrific and intolerable, these aren’t the only ways that people get abused in nursing homes. In fact, nursing home abuse and neglect is often much more subtle, and much more insidious. And for families that aren’t aware of how residents get abused in homes, often, the telltale signs end up getting missed.

Being Completely Neglected

One problem is just plain neglect—that is, nursing home staff doing absolutely nothing at all. The problem is that the results or consequences of neglect are often slow to develop and difficult for families to see right away.

So, for example, if a resident isn’t having her teeth brushed, family may not see that from one or two visits. If someone is dehydrated because staff has neglected to get them water, visiting family may never know or see that.

If a loved one isn’t being moved enough, and is developing a bed sore, that’s not something family may see right away. The result can be deadly bed sores, where the skin breaks down, opening the body to the outside world, and thus, infection.

Worse, many residents are not in a position to complain about neglect, or tell loved ones that they are being ignored.

Sexual Abuse and Assault

You may think that if a loved one is being sexually abused in a home, that’s something family would see or observe. But that’s not the case.

One obvious reason, is that the physical signs of sexual abuse are on areas of the body that family does not see or investigate. And again—the abused resident may not be in a position to do or say anything about the abuse.

Worse, if the abuse isn’t coming from staff, but coming from other residents, the staff itself may not even know about it. That means that outside of the victim and the perpetrator, sexual abuse can be happening under the noses of nursing home staff, without them doing anything about it.

Falls and Mobility

Falls are another hidden danger in nursing homes. Nursing homes should have a discussion with family, so that they are on board with how much mobility and physical freedom a nursing home resident should safely have or not have.

Often, however, people who are not mobile enough, are allowed to walk around and roam the nursing home facility. This often goes hand in hand with neglect—residents who have needs that aren’t being attended to, tend to get up and try to attend to those needs themselves.

Do you have a loved one that was injured in a nursing home? Call the Knoxville personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today.




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