Bruises, burns and scratches indicate physical injuries, but elder abuse may also include emotional harassment or abandonment. When visiting a relative in an Oregon nursing home, a family member may learn more about their loved one’s care by looking for the invisible signs of abuse. 

Senior citizens may find it difficult to communicate issues involving their health care. According to the National Council on Aging, approximately five million elderly individuals experience abuse annually. Reporting the abuse to authorities, however, only occurs in about one out of 14 cases. 

Monitoring caregivers to reduce malpractice risks

To uncover evidence of errors, neglect or deprivation, family members may need to schedule regular visits to patients in a care facility. Monitoring a loved one’s medical records and discussing prescriptions with caregivers may help prevent medication or treatment errors. 

The third cause of death in the United States is the result of medical errors. As reported by U.S. News & World Reports, approximately 10% of preventable deaths occur annually because of poor-quality health care. Vulnerable patients in nursing homes often require complex medical treatment, which may come with a higher risk of malpractice. 

Engaging relatives in active conversations to help prevent abuse

Engaging loved ones in conversations about their care and treatment may help detect abuse or neglect. By asking questions about their caregivers, relatives may establish a connection that patients feel they could trust. This may enable them to feel comfortable about reporting maltreatment. 

Withdrawal or social isolation may provide clues that a relative has experienced some type of harm while at a facility. Nursing home physicians and staff members owe a duty of care to prevent medical mishaps and errors, but relatives who detect abuse or neglect early may also help prevent a loved one’s health from deteriorating.