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Ohio Nursing Home Employee Charged With Abuse, Safety of Residents Called Into Question

In April, nurse's aide Sandra McCoy was charged with abusing an 80-year old resident who was confined to a wheelchair in a Parma nursing home. Witnesses report that the elderly resident may have struck or lashed out at McCoy, after which she launched a retaliatory kick that drew blood.

At some point, most of us must entrust the safety and care of our older loved ones to professional nursing home facilities. But, even at reputable institutions, abuse can be a real concern. Knowing more about the signs to watch out for can help you prevent your loved one from being a victim, and allow you to hold abusive caregivers accountable.

Red Flags

You should always be on the lookout for several common warning signs of abuse by nursing home employees or other caregivers.

Of course, unexplained cuts, bruises, or bone fractures are potential indicators of physical abuse. The onset of venereal disease or vaginal or anal bleeding often indicate sexual abuse. And, bedsores, frequent illness, or unexpected weight loss can be signs of neglect.

It is always a good idea to ask your loved one if anything out of the ordinary is going on. However, residents may be reluctant or unable to discuss abuse for a number of reasons.

Even if your suspicions are not aroused when talking to your loved one, you should be on the lookout for suspicious staff behavior that may mask abuse. If you are not allowed to be alone with your loved one, if your loved one is kept in an overmedicated state, or if there are delays in being granted visitation, you should take further steps to investigate.

Getting Help

If you have a relative in a nursing home or other assisted care facility and suspect abuse, contact an attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you file a complaint with the appropriate state regulatory agency to ensure the abuse stops immediately. Furthermore, only an attorney can hold abusive caretakers and their employers responsible for monetary damages.

Abuse by those charged with providing an intimate level of care to elderly loved ones can be difficult to deal with. But, with the proper help, you can ensure a higher standard of care for your loved one.

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