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Physical abuse is the most common type of elder abuse. It includes physical beating, sexual abuse, and over-medication. Signs of physical abuse include bruising; scratches; torn, stained, or bloody clothing; and unnecessary restraints. Signs of over-medication include blank stares and drowsiness, drooling, or cracked lips.

Mental abuse is more subtle and may be harder to notice than physical abuse, but they often go hand-in-hand with each other. Mental abuse includes emotional and verbal abuse, such as name-calling and insulting, swearing, intimidating or harassing, ignoring, treating the resident like an infant, destroying the person’s belongings or valuables, or threatening them or their loved ones. Signs of this kind of abuse include the elder appearing nervous, depressed, or anxious, showing signs of sudden and/or extreme mood changes, and isolation from friends and family. Another warning sign is if an employee at the facility always insists on being present during your visits with your loved one, or if the employee speaks for your relative or restricts movement and activities.

Federal regulations provide that the “resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion. Nursing homes must develop and implement written policies and procedures that prohibit mistreatment, neglect and abuse of residents. The federal regulations further require that nursing homes “promote care for its residents in a manner and in an environment that promotes maintenance or enhancement of each resident’s dignity and respect in full recognition of his or her individuality.”

Every state has regulations requiring nursing homes to conduct background checks on prospective employees. Because salaries are low and the working conditions difficult, staff turnover in many nursing homes is high. To fill positions quickly, a facility may become lax in the hiring process. In a staff assault case, hiring and personnel records are a source of information about whether the staff member was asked questions that might reveal violent propensities and whether appropriate background and reference checks were performed.

If you believe a loved one has been a victim of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or mental abuse in a nursing home or other elder care facility, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a FREE CONSULTATION