Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
1 in 10 Elders Suffer Abuse
A large-scale study of elder abuse reports that one in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse at the hands of those who have been entrusted to care for them. That is shocking enough, but even more so is that many experts agree these numbers are likely to be significantly higher because many abuse cases go unreported.
If someone you know in a nursing home, rest home, assisted living or senior care facility who has complained about any mistreatment, we urge you to take them seriously. Ask questions. Get the facts. Talk to management. View their medical records. Place a hidden camera in the room like this Raleigh woman did. And contact us immediately if you suspect abuse. The statute of limitations for reporting is a short window.
Elders Less Likely to Report Abuse
Even if abuse is not reported to you, stay in close contact and remain vigilant in your efforts to watch over your loved one. Sadly, many of those who have been abused remain silent, living in fear of retaliation from staff, management, or even other residents. If you notice any unexplained changes, mentally, emotionally, physically, or financially, encourage your loved one to speak freely and openly with you and reinforce that you are there to help.
Signs of mistreatment include things like unexplained bruises and weight loss or loss of muscle tone, bedsores, poor hygiene, missing money or other items. Note how your loved one interacts with staff and other residents. Are they suddenly withdrawn or seemingly fearful?
The list of the types of nursing home abuse is long and sordid.
North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one have suffered at the hands of those who are entrusted to provide care and comfort, contact us immediately or call us at 1-866-900-7078. You may be eligible for compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of care and family duties
- Loss of the victim’s earnings
- Wrongful death
- Funeral expenses for the victim
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can come in many different forms, and this is by no means a complete list of the harms elders may suffer at the hands of those entrusted to their care.
- Bedsores are caused when patients are not turned regularly or are left in poor hygiene. They result from too much pressure for too long a period of time on areas of the body, such as heels, elbows, shoulder blades, and the tailbone.
- Primary factors that contribute to bedsores are moisture from bed sheets or unchanged diapers, malnutrition and dehydration, and immobility.
- They can be fatal if they become infected and are not treated promptly.
- Not limited to battery/other physical contact.
- Can be seen in force-feeding, overmedication, excessive use of chemical or physical restraints, prolonged or continual deprivation of food and fluids.
- Sepsis, which can be caused by infectious bacteria in the bloodstream and can occur when a cut or opening in the skin is not properly treated or bandaged.
- Verbal threats, isolation, sarcastic remarks, and insults.
- Emotional manipulation occurs when a staff member influences a resident for their own advantages.
- Residents experiencing emotional abuse may exhibit withdrawal, mood swings, low self-esteem, involuntary seclusion, unexplained confusion, anxiety and depression, or uncommon behaviors like sucking, rocking, or even biting.
- Sexual abuse occurs when a resident is forced or tricked into unwanted sexual contact with another resident, a staff member, visitor, stranger, or a family member.
- May happen if a resident is too weak or ill to give consent.
- Financial abuse occurs when the person responsible for monitoring an elder’s spending habits exploits their position through the misappropriation of funds, property, or other assets.
- Signs include such things as late bill payments, using funds or property for their own benefit, cashing checks without consent, forcing signatures, taking advantage of power of attorney, tricking a resident into signing a will or other legal documents.
Neglect comes in a wide variety of forms. Some of the more common include:
- Failing to help the resident with personal hygiene and failing to acknowledge unsanitary conditions.
- Not providing adequate and appropriate food and fluids or a safe place to live.
- Failure to provide appropriate medical attention or to address health and safety issues.
- Elopement occurs when a resident who is not capable of protecting themselves from harm leaves the nursing home or other care facility without supervision.
- Wandering occurs when a cognitively-impaired resident wanders throughout the care facility and becomes a danger to themselves or others.
- Serious falls can occur when bed railings have not been secured properly, there’s improper or no staff supervision, or a staff member drops a resident.
North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Claims
Claims against nursing homes and senior care facilities for failure to care continue to grow. This list represents just a few areas of negligence. Further, these areas can often overlap with other claims, such as physical, mental, or sexual abuse. If you feel your loved one has suffered elder abuse of any kind, contact us immediately or call 1-866-900-7078. Our N.C. Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers can offer a free case evaluation for your unique circumstances.
Nursing homes are obligated to hire properly qualified staff with the appropriate academic and other credentials for their particular position. Background checks are required and there should be no record of abuse or violence found in that background check.
Many nursing homes and senior care facilities are notoriously understaffed. They can potentially be liable if a resident suffers an injury or dies because of an inadequate number of caretakers to properly care for residents.
Nursing homes and other senior care facilities can potentially be held accountable for injuries if their staff has not been provided proper training and a resident suffers an injury as a result.
The nursing home or other senior care facility has the responsibility to provide a safe environment, and is therefore liable for any abuse caused other residents or visitors.
If a resident is injured by a prescription drug error, the nurse, physician, pharmacy, or pharmacist can be held liable.
Breach of Statutory or Regulatory Rights
The rights of nursing home residents and home-bound adults are protected by North Carolina state law. Here is a condensed version of North Carolina’s Adult Care Home Bill of Rights and North Carolina’s Bill of Rights for Nursing Home Residents.
If a nursing home or senior care facility staff member violates a resident’s fundamental rights of autonomy, dignity, and privacy, then the home or facility can potentially be liable for damages.