What Is Nursing Home Abuse & 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 or neglect at the hands of those who have been entrusted to care for them. That is shocking enough, but even more shocking 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, or senior care facility has complained about any mistreatment, we urge you to take them seriously.
Ask questions. Get the facts. Talk to management. Review their medical records. And contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 immediately if you suspect abuse. The statute of limitations for reporting is a very short window.
For-Profit Nursing Homes Are Now Big Business
The American Association of Justice maintains that nursing homes are now big business as a result of the bulk of baby boomers needing senior care. Many for-profit corporate chains have dominated the market, and there has been a rise in neglected and abused seniors.
Instead of improving safety, some corporate nursing homes are attempting to limit accountability and deny residents’ rights. Some corporate nursing homes have tried to hide forced arbitration clauses in the fine print of admission contracts.
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 – and even others who may be exhibiting signs of abuse or neglect, including roommates, meal partners, or friendly companions. Keep in mind that they may not have frequent visitors to notice these signs.
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 may include things like unexplained bruises, weight loss or loss of muscle tone, pressure sores, 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 Are they suddenly withdrawn or seemingly fearful?
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The list of the types of nursing home abuse is long and ugly. Unfortunately hundreds of thousands of people over the age of 60 are abused or neglected at the hands of caregivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Abuse and neglect come in many forms. Some signs are readily apparent, such as bruising or pressure sores. Other signs of abuse such as emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse may not be obvious. Abuse can be perpetrated by nursing home staff, other residents, visitors, even family members. The CDC is very specific in its definition of elder abuse and neglect.
Physical abuse can be symptoms of physical force that results in acute or chronic illness, bodily injury, physical pain, functional impairment, distress, or death. Physical abuse can include striking or hitting, beating, scratching, biting, choking, suffocation, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, stomping, pinching, and burning.
Sexual abuse or abusive sexual contact includes any unwanted sexual interaction of any kind.
Emotional or psychological abuse can include nonverbal behavior that results in anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress. It could include humiliation, such as name calling and threats, isolation from family or friends, or prohibiting or limiting access to transportation, phone, money or other resources.
Neglect manifests in many forms and can sometimes be difficult to detect. Look for signs of failure to protect your elder from harm, or failing to meet needs for essential medical care, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, clothing, or basic activities of daily living or shelter. This is negligence and can result in a serious risk of compromised health and safety. Examples include not providing adequate nutrition, hygiene, clothing, shelter, or access to necessary health care, as well as failure to prevent exposure to unsafe activities and environments.
Financial abuse or exploitation is the unauthorized or improper use of the resident’s resources for the benefit of someone other than the resident. This can include depriving the resident of access to, information about, or use of personal benefits, resources, belongings, or assets. Examples include forgery, misuse, or theft of money or possessions, or use of coercion or deception to surrender finances or property.
You Are Among Millions of Loving and Well-Meaning Caretakers
Just as your parents gave you the best possible care as they were able, the tables have turned. They have reached the stage where they need nursing home care to help them try to remain safe, take their medications as appropriate, maintain personal hygiene, and have three nutritious squares a day. It’s your turn to see they get these things.
Whether your loved one was being discharged from a hospital and you needed to make a relatively quick decision about nursing home care, or you had plenty of time to research nursing homes, as a loving child you undoubtedly sought the best possible nursing home for their needs, your location, and your budget.
Don’t Feel Guilty
After some time however, you begin to wonder if you chose the right facility. You don’t want to make waves, but you notice your mom seems a bit withdrawn. She has unexplained bruises. She may have a pressure sore. Perhaps she is shying away from social activities or has unexplained weight loss.
Don’t feel guilty! You are not alone.
North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation
If your loved one has suffered at the hands of those who are entrusted to provide care and comfort, contact us immediately or call 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