Nursing homes are meant to be a safe haven for the elderly in New Mexico. But unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a reality. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or are planning on putting them in one, it’s important to be aware of the signs of abuse.
This refers to any physical force that causes injury, pain or impairment. This can include hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking, pinching, burning, restraints and force-feeding. Signs of physical abuse include bruises, broken bones, cuts, sores, welts and sprains. The victim may also have a change in behavior, such as being withdrawn, agitated or non-communicative.
This is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the victim’s consent. It can include rape, fondling, forced nudity and sexual exploitation. Signs of sexual abuse include bruises in the genital area, sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal bleeding and changes in behavior, such as being withdrawn or non-communicative.
This refers to any type of verbal or nonverbal behavior that causes psychological trauma. It can include name-calling, insults, threats, manipulation, intimidation and isolation. Signs of emotional abuse include anxiety, depression, changes in eating or sleeping habits, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
What should you do if you suspect nursing home abuse?
If you suspect that your loved one is facing nursing home abuse, it’s important to report it immediately. You can contact the police, Adult Protective Services or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. These organizations can investigate the abuse and help protect your loved one.
It’s also important to talk to your loved one about what’s happening. They may be afraid to report the abuse themselves, so it’s important that you offer them support and encouragement. Let them know that they are not alone and that you will do everything you can to help them.
Trying to determine or report nursing home abuse can be overwhelming, but it’s a necessary step to protecting your loved one. With your help, they can get the justice and care they deserve if they are victims of this type of abuse.