Nursing home neglect and abuse happens more often than you may think
People over the age of 65 now represent the largest segment of our population. More than 40 million baby boomers are in the United States, many will be placed in nursing homes when they are no longer able to care for themselves. Nursing home abuse and neglect may occur within the walls of these facilities. It is estimated that as many as 40% of all nursing home residents are either abused or neglected.
Cornell University and the New York City Department for the Aging conducted a study and found that the actual incidence of elder abuse is as much as 24 times greater than that which is reported. In 2000, the National Center on Elder Abuse conducted a study in which they found that more than 50% of staff in a nursing home admitted to neglecting or mistreating patients.
Many think of abuse as hitting, broken bones, bruises there are many other forms of abuse both physical and emotional. The most common types of abuse include the following:
- Neglect that leads to a fall and/or injury.
- Failure to provide medication or over-medicating
- The use of physical restraints.
- Holding back food and force feeding.
- Threats and isolation
- Verbal degradation
- Psychological manipulation
- Uninvited physical and sexual contact
How do you know if your loved one is being neglected or abused?
Residents of nursing homes who are victims of emotional abuse may become confused, anxious, withdrawn, depressed, or have severe mood swings. Residents who are neglected at a nursing home may suffer from dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores and other serious issues. This is all a direct result of the person’s caretakers failing to provide them with adequate water, food, clothing, personal hygiene assistance, and necessary medical treatment.
Learn more about signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect.
Do I have grounds for a nursing home neglect or abuse lawsuit?
Every case is unique with its own set of facts and laws that govern the area in which it operates. However, if you suspect any form of abuse or neglect you should take immediate action for the safety of your loved one.
Steps to take if you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse.
Pay attention to how the elderly person acts or reacts to the presence of staff and caregivers. If they appear upset, frightened, withdrawn or depressed this may be a sure sign of abuse or neglect.
Reassure your loved one that you understand what is going on and they will be safe. Make sure they understand they did nothing wrong and that you are helping them.
If it is obvious that your loved one is in imminent danger, you need to immediately call 911.
If there is no immediate danger to your loved one, do what you can to obtain verification of the neglect or abuse. Because of their age and or medications, they may be confused as to what happened or when it happened. Take photographs, obtain their medical records, talk to other residents of the nursing home. Take time to talk with your relatives and friends who visit the nursing home to see what they know. Do what you can to obtain a comprehensive view of the situation in the nursing home.
Once you have your evidence to back your concerns notify the nursing home administration. If you fear for your loved one’s safety, remove them from the nursing home immediately. Have a short term and long term plan ready for where they may safely live. If there is no resolution to your concern, file a formal complaint with the department of social services and with the police. Be sure your complaint is documented.
Make sure you obtain experienced legal representation. Contact a personal injury lawyer who will help you every step of the way. The Columbia, South Carolina law firm of Leventis & Ransom will provide you with the necessary guidance to navigate the elder abuse or neglect situation. We will help you file charges, and take immediate legal action to ensure the neglect and abuse stops. We will seek proper compensation for the negligence and abuse of the elderly victim. Contact us today by calling 803-765-2382 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our confidential online form.
For more information on Tribal Elder abuse and neglect resources click here