When caring for an elderly patient you should always be on guard for signs of abuse or neglect. Signs like multiple injuries or fractures, injuries shaped like an object like a belt or hand, injuries to the trunk, abd., genitals, buttocks, or upper thighs. Look for neglect in forms of dehydration or malnutrition, pressure ulcers, urine burns, overmedication or undermedication, oversedation especially. If your patient has any injuries that cannot be reasonably explained suspect abuse or neglect. Ask sme important questions of your patient and their caregiver: when and how did this happen?, how often has this type of injury occured? Suspect a problem if the stories are not consistant with the injury or if the patient or caregiver is unwilling or unable to respond. Be sure that you document your findings and make it know to you supervisor that you suspect some sort of abuse or neglect. Tim S.
Nursing99, Volume 29, Number 9: Recognizing Elderly Abuse
by Peg Gray-Vickery, RN,C,DNS
I had a patient once that startled very easily. Most elderly folks startle easily, but this lady would about jump out of her skin if you just walked into the room. Later I found out that her son had verbally and physically abused her at home before she came to our facility. Be extra gentle and soft spoken. We are their advocate.