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On behalf of Pat Crispi at Keogh Crispi PC

People who have loved ones in nursing homes in New York should be familiar with the signs of elder abuse.

In October of last year, two nurses and a health aide at a New York nursing home were captured on video abusing a disabled patient. According to the New York Daily News, the medical professionals dragged the 51-year-old man across the floor and failed to help him despite the fact that the man was bleeding.

The video provided evidence of the incident, leading to the arrest of the negligent staff. Unfortunately, many instances of abuse in nursing homes goes unnoticed or underreported. Here are five signs that a loved one could be suffering some form of maltreatment:

1. Physical Injuries

Perhaps the most obvious symptom of elder abuse, physical injuries can manifest in a number of ways. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the signs could include the following:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Bruises, lacerations and welts
  • Rope marks on the wrist, implying restraint
  • Dislocations and sprains

It is also possible that a family member might notice that the elderly person's glasses have been broken, which could indicate physical abuse.

2. Behavioral Changes

Any sudden change in behavior should be cause for concern. While it may not always indicate abuse, it often signifies that something is wrong. The Administration on Aging points out that someone who is suffering some form of abuse may suddenly become withdrawn or disinterested in participating in regular activities. Mood swings, especially depression-related behavior, could indicate emotional abuse.

3. Poor Hygiene

Elder abuse can take the form of neglect in nursing homes. When that occurs, the resident does not receive the care and attention he or she needs. The AOA reports that unusual weight loss, bedsores and poor hygiene are often the result of neglect.

4. Torn Or Bloody Underwear

Sexual abuse in nursing homes can become obvious when a resident's underwear is torn, bloody or otherwise inexplicably stained. In some cases, the resident may contract a sexually transmitted disease or have bruising around his or her genitals.

5. Strained Relationships

Lastly, family members may want to pay attention to the way a nursing home resident and the staff interact. When the relationship appears tense, it could be due to abuse.

Each of these symptoms alone may not necessarily mean that abuse has taken place. However, experts warn that when more than one sign is present, it is often an indicator of mistreatment. Unfortunately, New York is one of the few places in the country where it is not mandatory for medical professionals to report suspected elder abuse.

Therefore, people who have loved ones in New York nursing homes should always report any suspicious activity, behavior or symptom. Anyone who has questions about this matter should consult with an attorney.

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