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Know how to spot the signs of nursing home abuse

When parents, grandparents or other loved ones can no longer care for themselves in their homes, you want them to be in a safe, clean, comfortable environment where they will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

While most nursing homes and elder care facilities do operate with residents' best interests in mind, there are unfortunate situations in which negligence or outright abuse occurs.

When you suspect something, it's time to say something.

Seniors may be physically or mentally unable to report acts of abuse to you, or may be reluctant to do so. Here are things to look for if you have concerns or suspicions about nursing home abuse and neglect:

· The senior reports specific acts of abuse or neglect. If the nursing home resident reports abuse, don't dismiss their claims outright.

· Signs of physical abuse. Look for things like broken glasses, unexplained bruising, welts or lacerations, open wounds or cuts, sprains or broken bones.

· Signs of being restrained. Look for rope marks on the senior's wrists or ankles.

· Poor personal hygiene. Bedsores or a lack of basic hygiene may indicate neglect or abuse.

· Poor facility hygiene and cleanliness. Is the room clean? Does the senior have clean bedding? Living conditions should be safe, clean and comfortable.

· Lack of appropriate medical supplies. Does the senior have their walker or cane, if needed? Do they have their glasses, teeth and/or hearing aids? Are they receiving their medication as needed?

· Signs of Malnourishment. Look for sunken eyes or unexplained weight loss.

· Unexplained changes in behavior. Look for signs that the senior is suddenly fearful of contact, or is isolating himself or herself from social activity.

· The caregiver will not allow you to be alone with the senior. This should be a red flag that something is going on that the caregiver is trying to hide from you.

If you are concerned that a loved one may be in an abusive situation in their nursing home in Central Massachusetts, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph J. Cariglia, P.C., are here to advise you and help protect those you love.

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