If your parent or family member has a caregiver, you expect that person to treat your loved one with respect. You imagine the caregiver will protect your loved one and provide the necessary aid. You never want to think someone who is responsible for your loved one’s safety may be harming or neglecting them. Unfortunately, caregiver abuse is a very real issue.
Caregiver abuse is tragic, and the abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological or financial. In some instances, it can also include neglect. Each type of abuse can cause serious issue and can be accompanied by different warning signs. Knowing how to detect caregiver abuse is critical to stopping it.
Often times, physical abuse is the most obvious. It can leave unexplainable bruises, scratches, bites, abrasions, burns and scrapes. If the physical abuse is more severe, it could involve fractured or broken bones, sprains or dislocations. Sexual abuse also can leave physical evidence, like bruises and cuts.
Identifying other types of caregiver abuse could be more difficult. For example, psychological abuse may cause a change in your loved one’s behavior. If he or she has become afraid of the caregiver or if there is an unexplained withdrawal from normal activities and hobbies, something may be wrong. This could indicate a history of anger, threats, belittling or over control from the caretaker.
Financial abuse can span a broad spectrum of conduct, ranging from taking small amounts of money or property to forging the person’s signature on financial documents. Significant changes in the person’s finances, such as multiple overdraft charges, large cash withdrawals and missing checks could indicate financial abuse. If you have access to your loved one’s financial information, be sure it is secure.
Neglect, unlike other types of caregiver abuse, is not always intentional. If a person fails to provide the necessary level of care, it could be considered neglect. Indicators may include unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration and other physical conditions like bed sores. Unsanitary living conditions, dirty clothing and bedding or being left dirty or unbathed also could be classified as neglect.
As a family member or friend, you should try to interact with your loved one’s caregiver. This could help you understand his or her personality and learn their behaviors. Having more insight into who is caring for your family member could help protect them.
Five Questions to Ask Before Accepting Caregiving Services
Hiring a caregiver to work with and protect your loved one is a serious task. You may be concerned about their experience and whether or not they are able to provide the level of care you expect. Asking the right questions before accepting caregiving services can help to ensure the person you choose will be a good match for your loved one. Some things you should consider asking a potential caregiver include:
- What is your caregiving experience, and do you have any certifications?
- Are you willing to submit to a background check?
- Are you willing and able to work when needed?
- Is there anything in the job description you are unable or unwilling to perform?
- Do you have a driver’s license, and are your comfortable transporting my loved one?
Making sure the applicant is qualified is important. You should ask about previous employment, volunteer experience and anything else that could be relevant. If your loved one has a unique medical condition, you should ask if the caregiver has worked with others in similar situations. You also should know if the person has any certifications such as CPR or First Aid. A background check could help to verify this information and determine if he or she has a criminal history.
You also want to ask questions that determine if the person would be willing to provide care as you expect. If the caregiver has other obligations that could affect his or her time with your family member, that person may not be the best selection. The same applies if the caregiver is not comfortable or unable to perform certain tasks, including as driving your loved one if necessary.
If you want to guarantee your loved one will receive the best care possible, you need to be willing to put time and energy into searching for a reputable caregiver. You should ask thorough questions to make sure the caregiver knows his or her expectations and to ensure you know who you are hiring. Keeping the lines of communication open and working together can assure your loved one is getting optimal care.
If you have any questions about possible signs of caregiver or nursing home abuse or need answers about what can be done to stop abuse, the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Winburn Bequette can help.