Identifying Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is often difficult to detect, and recently a group of researchers in the state of Arkansas identified four main categories of “markers” one can look for when trying to determine if an elder is being mistreated or abused.

The four markers include the physical condition of the senior and quality of care, Identifying Elder Abuse Articles facility characteristics, discrepancies, and staff behaviors. While this article attempts to identify warning signs to watch for to help you identify abuse and neglect in a nursing home or extended care environment, if you live in Louisiana and you suspect your family member is being abused, it is in your best interest to consult with a New Orleans nursing home abuse lawyer who can explain your legal options Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer.

In regards to the physical condition of your loved one, watch for documented injuries that go untreated, injuries and fractures that are not documented, pressure sores that are untreated and not documented, medical orders that are not followed, poor hygiene and oral care and a general lack of cleanliness, malnourishment, bruising, etc. As far as facility characteristics, look for bed sheets that are not changed when soiled, strong odors such as feces and urine, un-emptied trash receptacles, dirty floors and bathrooms, food issues such as food left on meal trays, bad odors emanating from the kitchen at all hours, etc.

When looking for discrepancies it can be important to look for inconsistencies in statements made by various members of the staff and what you have actually viewed, discrepancies in medical records, inconsistencies in statements from different groups, and if death occurred, check for the reported time of death and have the medical examiner compare that to the condition of the corpse. Staff behavior can be an excellent indicator of abuse. If staff members are following the investigator into every room and everywhere he or she goes, it may be an intimidation factor to a frightened senior, who is afraid to speak up if their abuser is present. Also look for a lack of concern or lack of knowledge of a particular patient. Another clue may be evasiveness of certain staff members, whether verbal or non-verbal. You should be on heightened alert if the facility is unwilling to release medical records. In this scenario, contact a New Orleans nursing home abuse lawyer for help.

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