Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Thousands of elderly Americans are abused each year in nursing homes and other facilities responsible for their care.
A nursing home should be a place of healing and helping not just the road to decline and death. Although many conditions faced by elders cannot be prevented, halted or cured…neglect or abuse is always preventable and should never be tolerated.
Incident of nursing home neglect and abuse are rarely reported to proper authorities. Residents may be reluctant to complain for fear of retaliation from staff caring for them or embarrassment.
It is very important that family and friends of the victims be aware of some of the common signs of neglect and abuse.
If you are interested in finding out the track record for a particular nursing home we suggest you visit the federal government’s web site (www.medicare.gov/nhcompare) which will provide you information about specific nursing homes and the problems that they may be experiencing. This could help you choose the right home for your loved ones.
|Physical Injuries||Neglect||Emotional or Behavior Changes|
|Broken Bones||Dehydration or Malnourishment||Agitation, Withdrawal or Fear|
|Bed Sores or Bruises||Poor Hygience||Frequent Crying|
|Medication Overdose||Soiled Bedding||Complaints of Poor Treatment|
If you notice that your loved one exhibits any of the warning signs of abuse, take immediate action.
There is help available – contact us today , we will assist you to get an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer that can help you fight back against the abusers and get the financial compensation your loved ones deserves.
Elderly abuse is a growing problem in our country as our seniors age and reach the point of life where they are no longer able to live entirely independently. In the coming years, more and more seniors will need to seek help and support from family, nursing homes, and other long term health facilities.
The 2010 Census data recorded the largest number of individuals sixty five and older in all of census taking history. By 2050, it is estimated that people over the age of 65 will reach a full 20% of the US population. This significant growth in the elderly population is putting unique pressure on nursing homes and long term health facilities in the US. One unfortunate result of these complicated factors is a dramatic increase in elderly abuse in nursing homes.
Elderly abuse does not discriminate – it can affect men and women of all ethnicities and in all socioeconomic classes.
The most common categories of elderly abuse or mistreatment are:
- Physical Abuse – inflicting, or threatening to inflict, pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need
- Emotional Abuse – inflicting mental pain, anguish or distress on an elderly person through verbal or nonverbal acts
- Sexual Abuse – non-consensual sexual contact of any kind including coercing an elder to witness sexual act or behavior
- Exploitation – illegally taking, misusing or concealing funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elderly person
- Neglect – refusal or failure by the responsible individual or entity to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder
- Abandonment – the desertion of a vulnerable elderly person by anyone who has assumed responsibility or care for that person
It is important to note that it is also not uncommon for elderly individuals to experience multiple kinds of mistreatment at the same time or over the course of a long period of time.
If you have a loved one who you are concerned is possibly a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should be aware of the most common warning signs. In some cases, your elderly loved one will not be able to communicate that they are hurting or that they are the victims of abuse or neglect, so it is critically important that you serve as their advocate. While one or two of these “warning signs” is not necessarily confirmation of abuse or neglect, it can serve as a signal to you that you may need to pay special attention, to the situation, ask some questions about what is going on in the facility, and even possible consider intervening in some way.
Some possible indicators (warning signs) of elderly abuse:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions or burns are obvious signs of physical abuse, neglect or mistreatment
- Unexplained withdrawal from usual daily activities, depression or changes in alertness or demeanor can be a sign of emotional abuse or neglect
- Bruising around the breast or genital area can be a sign of sexual abuse
- Sudden changes in financial accounts or unexplained loss of material possessions can be a sign of exploitation
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and even weight loss can be signs of neglect
- Strained or tense relationships with caregivers, frequent arguments or confrontations can also be a sign of a problem
What Can You Do If You Suspect Elderly Abuse?
If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect, the first step is to try to talk with your loved one about the situation. Depending on their condition and mental state, this may or may not be useful as you gather information, but demonstrating that you care and providing support to your loved one can be vitally important throughout this process.
There are many reasons why your loved one may not be able to confide in you if he or she is experiencing elderly abuse. He or she may have cognitive or physical impairments that get in the way of normal communication, he/she may fear retribution from the abuser, or he/she may have developed a misplaced sense of loyalty to the caregiver. This can be a very complex and difficult issue to deal with, but it is important that you continue to ask questions until you are absolutely satisfied that your loved one is in a safe environment, and is being treated well by his or her caregivers.
At any time, you can ask the management of a nursing home or long term health facility to show you a written policy about this issue. After reviewing this document, the next step may be to consider meeting with the administration of the nursing home about your concerns. It’s important to do this in a calm, rational and non-confrontational way. Spend time listening to their explanations and try to avoid slinging accusations. If your concerns about your loved one increase at any time and/or you are unable to resolve this by talking to the administration, you will want to consider contacting the appropriate state agency and considering filing a formal complaint.
Elderly abuse is a major problem in our senior living facilities and if you are not getting the response that you expect, you need to get the appropriate parties involved as soon as possible.
Adult Protective Services (APS) is a national agency charged with ensuring the safety of elders and adults with disabilities who are in danger of being mistreated or neglected. In most states, APS caseworkers are the first responders to reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of elderly adults. ARS can receive a nursing home abuse and neglect report, help investigate the allegations, and provide support and services to the victim.
You may also want to consider contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer for more information about your potential legal options and other resources that may be available to you and your family. The law firm of Isaacs and Isaacs understands that bringing a lawsuit can take a lot of time and can be a stressful and traumatic experience. We are responsive to each and every one of our clients, and work to earn your trust. We approach each elderly abuse case with tenacity and diligence to achieve the best possible result for each of our clients.