Warning Signs of Abuse in Long Term Care Homes

March 14, 2022

Warning Signs of Abuse in Long Term Care Homes's article image

Long term care homes, nursing homes, and all facilities in Ontario that provide residential care for the elderly are legislated to provide a certain level of care. When this level of care is not achieved, those living in residential care can suffer immensely. If you have a loved one living in long term care or a nursing home, it’s important to know the warning signs of abuse and neglect.


Abuse vs. Neglect

Abuse and neglect are both things that you should be looking out for, however, they differ slightly. Abuse generally refers to intentional harm, injury, or deprivation that results in physical, mental, or emotional anguish. Neglect refers to failure, intentional or not, to provide an individual with the proper care, treatment, or services to ensure that they’re free from harm or pain.


Know The Warning Signs

Understanding that there are different types of abuse and neglect is the first step in knowing what you should be looking out for. Each type presents warning signs in different ways and while the following list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a good starting point to ensure that you can be more aware of concerning behaviours or observations.

1) Physical Abuse

This type of abuse includes anything that relates to the physical well-being of your loved one. Signs of this type of abuse can vary greatly. However, some warning signs to look out for in your loved one include:

  • Unexplained injuries, broken bones, dislocations, bruises, sprains, or scratches.
  • Welts, cuts, or open wounds that are left untreated.
  • Leftover marks from use of restraining devices.
  • Evidence of over-medicating or under-medicating.
2) Emotional Abuse

This type of abuse is believed to be the most common type of elder abuse, however, it can be difficult to detect since there aren’t any physical indicators that you can watch out for. That being said, there are certain behaviours that you can watch out for in your loved one:

  • Isolation from others.
  • Visibly upset or agitated.
  • Extremely withdrawn or non-communicative.
  • Reluctance speaking when a staff member is present.
  • Unusual or sudden changes in behaviour.
3) Neglect

Neglect can be intentional or unintentional, however, both types are very dangerous and can lead to a host of problems such as infections, bedsores, and many others. Some signs to watch out for include:

  • Unsanitary or dangerous living conditions.
  • Malnutrition or dehydration.
  • An appearance that is unkempt or wearing dirty clothes.
  • Withholding or limiting access to medications.
4) Sexual Abuse

This type of abuse is can also be difficult to detect, due to the nature of the abuse, along with the shame that your loved one may feel if they are a survivor of sexual abuse. Warning signs include:

  • Bruises on sensitive areas such as the breasts, inner thighs, or genitalia.
  • Unusual or sudden changes in behaviour.
  • Unexplained genital infections or STIs.
  • Clothes or underwear that are torn.
  • Panic attacks or other signs of PTSD.

Connecting With A Lawyer

If you believe a loved one has been abused or neglected while in the care of a nursing home or long term care home, connecting with a lawyer can help. An experienced personal injury lawyer can outline the specific options that are available to you and your loved one. The team at Beckett can help you understand the legal rights and obligations of long term care homes and what to do if your loved one is not receiving proper care. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have the knowledge, expertise, and compassion necessary to help you through your unique case and fight for justice.

If you're ready to take the next step, reach out to Beckett today. Visit our contact us form for a free case evaluation.

Published on March 14, 2022

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