Elder Abuse Lawyer Urges Family And Friends To Watch For Signs Of Nursing Home Neglect During Holiday Visits
Columbia, S.C. (PRWEB)
November 23, 2012
With the holiday season underway, many people will visit family members in nursing homes in South Carolina, and Columbia nursing home abuse attorney Bert Louthian today called on those visitors to be on the lookout for any signs that their loved ones may be suffering abuse or neglect while residing in a long-term care facility.
“Visitors are the first and best line of defense that residents have against nursing home abuse,” Louthian said. “While you are on your holiday visit, it is a good idea to take a few moments to make sure that everything is going alright.”
Louthian is a partner in the Louthian Law Firm, a South Carolina firm that represents victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. He sometimes encounters situations where the abuse went undetected for extended periods of time.
“Unfortunately, abuse cases go unreported for a long time in some cases, especially when victims can’t speak out for themselves and don’t get a lot of visitors,” Louthian said.
To help fight abuse, Louthian urged family members and friends to be vigilant on every visit, including those that occur around the holidays. “We know people visit more at Thanksgiving and Christmas than any other time of year, and these visits are a good opportunity to look for signs of abuse or neglect,” he said.
Louthian stressed that visits are important not just around the holidays but also throughout the year.
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that between 1 and 2 million Americans aged 65 or older have been subjected to some type of abuse or mistreatment by caregivers. It lists a variety of abusive behaviors that nursing home residents sometimes experience.
• Physical abuse (improper use of force)
• Neglect (failure to provide proper care)
• Emotional or psychological abuse (rejection, belittling or isolation)
• Verbal abuse (threats, yelling or verbal attacks)
• Chemical restraint (unnecessary use of sedating drugs)
• Financial exploitation (theft through coercion or force)
• Sexual abuse (forced sexual behavior)
Red flags that indicate potential signs of abuse include:
• Slap marks
• Bedsores or pressure sores
• Cigarette burns
• Poor hygiene
• Filthy living environment
• Dehydration or malnutrition
• Depression, including withdrawal from normal activities or a lack of interest
• Unexpected changes in alertness or behavior
• Bruising or redness in the genital area
• Sexually transmitted diseases.
“If you see these signs of abuse, or if you have any reason to suspect that something is wrong, you should take action. It’s always better to be cautious and to ask questions if something seems amiss,” Louthian said.
Those who suspect elder abuse can report their concerns to Adult Protective Services, a division of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Victims of elder abuse or their family members should also consider seeking assistance from a South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney, Louthian said
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