When most people think about nursing home abuse, they think about physical abuse and neglect. Malnutrition, dehydration, and assault are some of the most common forms of nursing home neglect and abuse that occur nationwide. However, isolation and confinement can also be forms of neglect or abuse that seriously impact nursing home residents, and they occur far more frequently than many people are prepared for.
If you think your elderly loved one might be being confined or isolated by abusive or neglectful staff members, you should act quickly to protect their emotional and physical health. Here’s what you should know about confinement and isolation and long-term care settings and how you can protect your loved one in the event you suspect they are the victim of nursing home misconduct.
What Is Confinement?
Confinement is the act of restraining a nursing home patient or sequestering them to a small area that they cannot leave. Nursing home residents that have difficulty moving are often neglected and left confined in their rooms when nursing home staff do not take them out for exercise or socialization.
Patients may also be confined for certain activities, like eating or bathing. Nursing home staff who are stretched thin will often restrain patients to beds or wheelchairs and then place them in hallways or large rooms where one staff member can watch many more patients. This is cruel and inhumane treatment that often results in serious injuries.
What Is Isolation?
Isolation goes along with confinement, but nursing home residents can be isolated without being confined. When a patient is denied adequate social enrichment and engaging activities, they may become withdrawn and isolated. This can severely impact their mental and emotional health.
Busy or low-quality nursing homes often do not help patients achieve enough social and emotional interaction to stave off feelings of isolation. While some feelings of loneliness when patients first enter a nursing home are normal, these facilities should be designed to provide patients with plenty of enrichment each day.
Many staff members make the mistake of assuming that if a patient is not socializing or interacting with others themselves, that they do not want to. It is the facility’s responsibility to help patients access the programs provided for them. When facilities fail to proactively socialize patients, isolation becomes common.
Negative Impacts of This Type of Nursing Home Abuse
Isolation and confinement may be a result of gross neglect, but they may also be used to threaten or coerce patients into compliance. Abusers may tell patients that they will be restrained or confined to their rooms for an extended period of time if they do not do as they are told by nursing home staff. Below are some of the impact that this type of elder abuse can have on long-term care residents:
- Depression and anxiety
- Reduced appetite
- Being frequently afraid or nervous
- Physical injury
Signs Your Elderly Loved One Is Being Isolated or Confined
Detecting any kind of nursing home abuse can be challenging, especially if your loved one has medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia that makes it more difficult for them to comprehend things and communicate them to you.
Fortunately, there are some indicators that you can be on the lookout for if you suspect that your elderly family member is being subjected to isolation or confinement in a nursing home facility. Watch for one or more of the following indicators:
- Your loved one seems fearful around nursing home staff
- Your loved one is withdrawn or spends a lot of time in their room
- They have evidence of restraint use, such as bruising or redness on the wrists or ankles
- They complain about not being taken out of their room to socialize with other patients in the facility
How Veteran New Hampshire & Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm Mazow | McCullough, PC Can Help
If you think your elderly loved one may be a victim of any form of nursing home neglect or abuse, including but not limited to confinement and isolation, it’s important that you act as quickly as possible to protect their best interests and hold the medical facility responsible for any harm done. Working with a veteran New Hampshire or Massachusetts nursing home neglect lawyer can help you do that.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have helped many families like yours advocate for the safety and well-being of loved ones who are in a nursing home. We can help you gather the evidence needed to bring forward a nursing home abuse claim in the event that you have a case. Contact us today for more information by dialing (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.