Law expert warns what to look out for when loved one in care
AN ABUSE law expert has revealed the signs people should watch out for if they believe their loved one is being mistreated in care.
Leanne McDonald, from Shine Lawyers, said older Australians were vulnerable to abuse in aged care and hospital settings with the percentage of the population over the age of 65 rising from 9 per cent in the 1970s to about 14 per cent now.
“Families have to put the care of their loved ones into the hands of others and have to trust that they are being looked after with kindness and dignity. It is a terrible shock to realise that might not be happening.”
Elder abuse can take many forms, according to Ms McDonald, who said it ranged from neglect and poor care to physical, psychological and sexual abuse as well as financial exploitation.
She said signs to watch out for in aged care facilities and hospitals could include dehydration, malnutrition or unexplained weight loss, poor or insufficient hygiene and pressure sores or blisters from lack of movement.
“These things can indicate an adequate level of care is not being administered,” Ms McDonald said.
“We know this is an ongoing problem in aged care generally and strong regulation and enforcement, along with random spot checks, are a very important part of the process to stop this happening.
The Elder Abuse Prevention unit can be reached on 1300 651 192, or the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 200 422.