Physical Abuse Of The Elderly

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Physical abuse occurs when a carer harms you or places you in danger. A carer may be a family member or someone who is responsible for taking caring for you. The carer may hit, slap, kick, push, pull your hair, burn, or force feed you. He may also give you the wrong amount of medicine. Physical abuse also includes sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is when someone has sexual contact with you without your consent. Physical abuse can happen in your own home, the carer's home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

You may bleed or get an infection if you have surgery to treat your wounds, fractures, or other injuries. If left untreated, you may develop serious health and emotional problems. Repeated physical abuse may lead to severe injuries or death. You may also become depressed.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Tetanus shot: This medicine keeps you from getting tetanus, and may be given if you have an open wound. You should have a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the past 5 to 10 years. Your arm can get red, swollen, and sore from this shot.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests: Blood and urine tests may be done to check for health problems, such as malnutrition or infection.

  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.

  • Neurologic exam: This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show caregivers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. Caregivers will check how your pupils (black dots in the center of each eye) react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.

  • Pelvic exam: Women may need to have this exam so caregivers can check for any injuries that may have resulted from the abuse.

  • Culture and smear exam: A sample of discharge may be collected from your genitals and sent to a lab for tests.

  • X-rays: X-rays may show if any bones are broken or out of place. X-rays of the victim's chest and abdomen may also be taken.

Treatment:

  • Counseling: Physical abuse may cause you to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. Your caregiver may suggest that you see a counselor to talk about how you are feeling.

  • Surgery: You may need surgery to treat injuries. Surgery may return bones to their normal position if you have a broken bone. You may also need surgery to correct a deformity or treat other injuries.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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