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What is resident abuse?

In the city of Atlanta, a patient in a nursing home is called a resident. While people expect that caregivers in these facilities provide appropriate treatment and care, and many do, there are those caregivers that abuse their power and, in turn, abuse residents.

Resident abuse can take many forms. In many cases, abuse goes unnoticed for some time. Whether it is due to inattentiveness on the part of good caregivers or family members, or because the physical signs of abuse is not apparent, patients can suffer at the hands of staff members for weeks and months before the abuse is discovered.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, keep your eyes open to the signs of abuse. Look for unusual bruises or marks that cannot be explained by ordinary movement or innocent accidents. At times, patients who are being abused may exhibit mood or personality changes. If your loved one appears to be withdrawn or unusually anxious or frightened, pay attention.

One of the easiest ways to discover resident abuse is to speak regularly with your loved one. Ask them if they are happy and well cared for. Talk to them about the way they are treated in your absence. Another way to prevent resident abuse is to visit your loved one frequently. Staff is less likely to abuse a resident who has visitors.

Resident abuse is a serious issue. If you believe that your loved one is the victim of abuse, report your suspicions to a staff supervisor immediately. If you get no assistance, take your concerns to law enforcement.