Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

• Changes in behaviour: Particularly sudden changes in behaviour may be indicative of abuse, depression or larger issues involving abusive treatment. • Heavy medication or sedation. What should one’s first steps be upon discovering signs of abuse or neglect? Depending in the severity, families need to assess the situation and immediately take action. If the situation is critical, families need to contact law enforcement who can provide immediate assistance for their loved one. Absent an emergency, families should report the situation to the state’s nursing home department. Usually this means having an investigator (surveyor) from the Department of Health go out to the facility and conduct an investigation into the incident. Not only will contacting the Department of Health provide useful information into the care of their loved one, but this will also likely protect other residents at the facility who are likely similarly situated. Assuming there or emotional changes, they should speak up and bring their concerns to the attention of the facility staff or administrator to address the issue before it becomes a critical issue. Nonetheless, as an attorney who has seen many types of cases, some of the common signs of elder abuse involve: • Pressure sores: Despite claims from facility staff that wounds are inevitable, most cases involving pressure sores are due to inadequate care over a lengthy period. • Broken bones: No one should have a fracture of any type at a facility. Many fractures are due to falls where a patient was not properly monitored. • Malnutrition: Unfortunately, when facilities are not staffed properly, staffing levels may be reduced to a bare minimum and residents who require assistance with meals may go unattended. Malnutrition can lead to a spiral of declining health and complications. Unfortunately, elder abuse is a massive problem that occurs in all settings and geographic areas. 98 LAWYERMONTHLYOCTOBER 2022

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