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Detecting Changes in Behavior in Nursing Home Patients

Author: Cullan & Cullan M.D., J.D.

Published: 2011-01-15


Behavioral changes in an elderly nursing home patient can signal nursing home abuse here are some signs to look for in your loved one.

Main Digest

Have you placed an elderly loved one in a nursing home to ensure round-the-clock, professional care? Perhaps, after some time, something seemed wrong. Your loved one was acting strangely withdrawn and fearful. When you notice these behavioral changes, it can be alarming - and it should be.

Behavioral changes in an elderly nursing home patient can signal nursing home abuse. Signs to look for in your loved one include:

Generally withdrawn

Unusually depressed or agitated

Suddenly not as sharp or alert as usual

Fearful and anxious in the company of the abuser

Lack of interest in activities that once engaged your loved one

Is It Abuse

Emotional abuse or verbal abuse includes the use of language designed to demean, humiliate, manipulate or threaten the nursing home patient. Seniors experience incredible anguish when being abused. Yet, they may not want to reveal the abuse to family or friends for fear of retaliation from the abuser, or the reaction they might receive from loved ones. If you suspect emotional abuse, talk to the caregivers who interact with your loved one. Ask questions about your loved one and note their responses and body language. Do they seem caring, or flippant? Do they talk about the resident in loving tones, or are they harsh and disrespectful? Talk to your loved one's roommate or other residents and ask questions of them as well. Observe how the caregiver interacts with your loved one.

If possible, visit your loved one at various days and time during the week to get a better sense of treatment in different settings. Be attentive, and listen to caregivers' conversations going on around you.

If you suspect abuse is occurring, move your loved one to a safer environment. Next, contact the nursing home supervisor. Then, contact an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. The goal is to preserve as much evidence as possible. You may have to engage the services of a new doctor to examine your loved one and run tests to make a case for abuse or neglect.

If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona area, please visit the website of nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys Cullan & Cullan M.D., J.D. today:

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