Visible signs of physical abuse are often hidden from visitors’ eyes, while emotional and financial abuses are not immediately observable. It’s important to be mindful of your loved one’s demeanor, ask him or her questions, and give plenty of time to answer – it takes courage to speak up and it may take some time before your loved one’s ready.
Listen carefully and observe your loved one’s overall physical and emotional well-being using the checklist below. By doing so, you can identify and take action against abuse and neglect immediately.
- Look for bruising, open and/or infected wounds, bed sores, burns and abrasions. Be wary if your loved one constantly has bandages or dressings outside of IV sites. Examine head, neck, arms and legs. If your loved one complains of consistent pain elsewhere, ask a staff member to help you take a look.
- Note any sudden or unexplained weight loss. This could be a sign of an underlying medical condition and therefore needs attention. It could also be a sign of malnutrition and dehydration, a red flag for neglect.
- Observe your loved one’s hygiene. Does he or she look clean and groomed? Are bedding and clothing fresh and clean? Body odor, dirt under the nails, matted hair and stained bedding and clothing are all clear indicators of neglect.
- Be mindful of your loved one’s behavior. Listlessness, physical and emotional withdrawal, unusual or infantile behavior, disappearance of personal items or sudden financial transactions are all red flags that require immediate attention.
Be conscious of delayed access to your loved one during unannounced visits. Also, if a staff member is constantly present during visits, this could be a sign that something is amiss.
If you see any of these signs of abuse or neglect, contact Greene & Associates so you can ensure your loved one is being cared for properly.