Physical abuse is illegal – including in nursing homes. However, it happens all too often. By definition, physical abuse is intentionally using physical force that may result in bodily injury or pain. The injuries that a nursing home resident may suffer as a result of physical abuse can be very serious, because many older people are fragile. A nursing home resident can suffer serious injuries from something as simple as a shove or slap. An elderly person's skin is also more susceptible to bruises, cuts, and tears.
If you've been a victim of physical abuse in a nursing home, or you suspsect your loved one is being abused physically, contact the Pennsylvania law firm of Edgar Snyder & Associates right away for a no obligation, free legal consultation.
Types of Physical Abuse
The following are examples of the types of physical abuse that nursing home staff members can inflict on elderly nursing home residents:
- Hitting or beating the resident with an object or with a hand
- Pushing or shoving the resident
- Shaking, slapping, kicking, or pinching the resident
- Burning the resident
- Force-feeding the resident
- Using chemical or physical restraints that are unnecessary
- Throwing the resident into a bed, or pushing the resident to try to get them to hurry up
- Pulling the resident's hair
- And more
Signs Your Loved One May Be a Victim of Physical Abuse
The following signs may indicate that your loved one is the victim of physical abuse in a nursing home:
- Broken bones
- Black eyes
- Rope marks or belt marks, particularly around the wrists, ankles, and neck
- Cuts and bruises
- Internal injuries or bleeding
- Unexplained hair loss
- Unexplained injuries
- A nursing home staff member refuses to allow the resident to have private visitors
- Any unexplained change in the resident's behavior, particularly showing fear, stress, anxiety, or a strong reaction when a certain staff member approaches
- When the resident makes excuses or stories to explain any of the above signs of physical abuse, and you suspect he or she isn't telling the truth
When You May Need a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Physical abuse in nursing homes occurs for a variety of reasons. When physical abuse occurs for any of the following reasons, the nursing home may be liable for negligence:
- Failing to conduct background investigations on employees who have a history of physical abuse
- Failing to properly supervise staff members
- Failing to hire a sufficient amount of supervisory staff
- Failing to properly train employees on how to spot physical abuse
- Failing to provide the proper ratio of staff to patients means that some caregivers may snap under the pressure and take their stress out on patients
If you suspect that a nursing home staff member has physically abused your loved one, do the following:
- Talk to your loved one – calmly but firmly. If your loved one admits that he or she was the victim of physical abuse, immediately report the incident to the police and get emergency medical help.
- Often, elderly people are afraid or embarrassed to admit they were the victim of physical abuse, or they may be too physically or mentally impaired to tell others about it. If you notice signs of physical abuse, call the police and get your loved one to an emergency room if necessary.
- If your suspicions aren't strong enough to call the police immediately, report the incident to the nursing home administrator and discuss your observations with your loved one's doctor. Stay alert and watch for continued signs of physical abuse. If they continue, contact authorities.
- Contact Edgar Snyder & Associates for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys can't erase what happened or make up for the physical abuse, but we can bring the nursing home to justice and help your loved one regain their dignity.