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If you’ve visited your loved one in a nursing home and noticed something unusual, it’s important that you recognize the signs of abuse and take them seriously.

Nursing home abuse is far more prevalent than you may think. According to an audit conducted by the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office, roughly a quarter of nursing home abuse cases go unreported.

Abuse Cases Uncovered

In 2017, the agency put out an alert notifying the public about Medicare’s failure to enforce immediate notification of physical and sexual abuse in nursing homes. This comes on the heels of an investigation of a significantly high number of abuse cases in 33 states.

In order to identify cases of abuse, the inspector general has put pressure on Medicare to examine digital billing records and match hospital emergency room visits with nursing home records. This method has been successful at identifying 134 abuse cases from 2015-2016.

In roughly 38 of all identified cases, there was no evidence that the incidents were reported to law enforcement, even though reporting nursing home abuse is required by federal and local law.

What To Do If You Recognize The Signs

If you have a loved one residing in a nursing home, these findings should be alarming. That’s why it’s important to visit as much as possible and recognize any possible signs of abuse. In many cases, abuse victims are either unable to communicate or are too afraid to report abuse.

If you notice any of the following signs, your loved one may be a victim of physical or sexual abuse:

  • Bruises or open wounds
  • Fractures or sprains
  • Internal injuries
  • Uneasiness around certain caregivers
  • Signs of sadness or anxiety
  • Genital infections or trauma

If you notice any of these signs, never downplay them. Take immediate action. You can start by reporting suspected abuse to the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

You should then speak to an experienced Alabama nursing home abuse attorney who can further investigate and identify responsible parties. In some cases, nursing homes will attempt to cover up any wrongdoing on their part, but some evidence may show that the nursing home was negligent by:

  • Hiring a caregiver without looking into his or her background
  • Hiring staff that is inexperienced
  • Not providing enough staff
  • Not monitoring their staff, visitors, or other residents

These are factors the legal team at Braswell Murphy LLC will take into account when building a strong case. We are dedicated to helping families of abuse victims find answers and seek justice.