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Countless older adults experience financial ruin, physical harm, emotional turmoil, or worse due to nursing home abuse every year. More often than not, the culprits behind this abuse are the residents of the nursing home or even members of staff, who are in charge of making sure the residents are safe and healthy.
It’s critical for family members of people in nursing homes to routinely visit their loved ones and determine if there are any signs of abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse: Types
Nursing home abuse can be classified into a few different categories. In some cases, there may be an overlap between the types of abuse. For instance, an older adult may suffer from emotional as well as physical damage due to abuse from another resident or nursing home staff member.
If your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, you need to determine which type(s) of abuse it is and report it. Doing so can protect your loved one from future abuse as well as ensure that are nursing home residents remain safe.
Physical Nursing Home Abuse
Physical injuries are the first to come to mind when one thinks of nursing home abuse. Injuries such as cuts, fractured bones, and bruises are some examples of physical nursing home abuse.
The staff members at the nursing home may not be able to explain these injuries, or at times, the explanation may not seem probable.
Emotional Nursing Home Abuse
In the case of emotional nursing home abuse, a member of staff or another resident impacts the mental wellness or self-esteem of a resident. Some examples of emotional nursing home abuse include shouting at the resident, manipulating their thought process, or distancing them from friends and family.
Emotional abuse may not have a direct impact on a resident physically. However, it can make the victim feel frightened, anxious, and frustrated as well as increase their stress levels which can certainly undermine their quality of life.
Financial Nursing Home Abuse
The residents of a nursing home may have put in long, hard hours at work all their lives to save money. But sometimes an unscrupulous resident or nursing home staff member may be able to steal it from their bank account. Such cases are classified as financial abuse.
Both the residents and their families place their faith in staff members to offer long-term care. However, at times, residents develop a bond with unethical staff members and end up experiencing financial abuse and exploitation of their trust.
Family members of loved ones should be mindful if there are any unauthorized withdrawal of funds from her account. Also check to see if your loved one has signed over power of attorney to someone who is not related or who has no authority over the individual.
Sexual Nursing Home Abuse
As difficult as it may be to fathom, some of our most valued members of society can be put in a compromising position where they are coerced into a sexual situation or preyed upon by a worker or even another resident. If there is some degree of decline, it may make it especially difficult for the individual to protest. The sexual abuse could be accompanied by physical and verbal abuse, bruises, broken bones, and cuts. In some cases, workers have posted dehumanizing photos on social media. This is criminal activity and has led to some individuals being charged and individual homes being cited by the federal government for deficiencies related to resident’s privacy.
Nursing Home Injury
A nursing home injury refers to any form of physical harm that older adult experience while they are residents at a community care facility.
The risk of injuries, such as falls, increases as people become older. Families may decide to place their older adults in a nursing home so that their loved one can receive the care that they need and minimize the risk of accidental injury.
But the elderly still sustain injuries in nursing homes. When such injuries arise from nursing home abuse, they may leave older adults permanently impaired, traumatized, or worse.
Some common injuries that occur in nursing homes are:
- Fractured bones
- Bedrail injuries
- Injuries to the spine
A bed sore occurs when a patient is not moved from a solitary position for some time. Also known as a pressure ulcer, bed sores are avoidable and treatable when identified early in their formation. Moving the body increases blood flow, without which the skin can begin to die and ultimately can become an open wound. Sepsis, a blood infection or a bone infection can result which is both life threatening and very serious.
These injuries can certainly be isolated incidents. But staff members of a nursing home can wreck a resident’s health and mental wellness by being negligent of their needs in the long-term or intentionally hurting them.
Unethical staff members who are negligent or abusive towards elderly residents violate the trust that residents and their families place in them. Rather than assist older adults in living out their lives peacefully and comfortably, they abuse them. Such malevolent staff members should be held liable for their deplorable actions.
Nursing Home Injuries: Quick Facts
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 2 percent to 28 percent of residents at nursing homes have bedsores.
- The National Council on Aging reports that falls is the leading reason for injury among the elderly in the US. According to the CDC, falls account for 95 percent of hip breaks in older adults, and they can lead to traumatic brain damage as well.
- Data from the CDC indicate that around 400,000 residents of nursing homes succumb to infections annually.
- According to the Brain Injury Association of America, seniors usually take longer to heal from concussions.
For-Profit Nursing Homes and Abuse
The CDC reports that nearly 70 percent of all nursing homes are commercially run enterprises. These nursing homes are usually operated by companies that own numerous community care facilities.
The primary motivation of a nursing home should be to assist the elderly age comfortably and gracefully. But the main goal for certain nursing home companies is to make money, above everything else.
In a study featured in the medical journal Gerontology, it was found that older adults in nursing homes displayed more signs of neglect. In fact, the facilities themselves were also found to be of sub-standard quality.
Moreover, a New York Times report found that certain nursing home companies were outsourcing elements of their care to other enterprises that they own. By doing so, corporate leaders can divert nursing home funds into their own pockets.
The Times report indicated that almost 75 percent of nursing homes in the US outsourced some form of their care to an affiliated company.
Legal Help for Victims and Families of Nursing Home Abuse
If your loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of nursing home staff or another resident, you need to contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to understand your legal options.
Upon entering a nursing home, seniors expect and merit top-notch care. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a common occurrence today and one that traumatizes the victims as well as their families.
Ways to Establish if the Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility is at Fault
The nursing home or assisted living facility could be held responsible if your older adult sustained an injury in an accident or was victimized by a caregiver.
The top three factors that could render the nursing home accountable are:
The assisted living community could be held responsible if they are understaffed, engage unqualified staff, do not provide proper training, or if they employ individuals with a record of abuse.
If a care community fails to install alarms and locks to prevent residents from wandering within the building or exiting the building, then they can be held liable.
Also, the facility could be held responsible if there is an absence of security cameras to deter violence or abuse from taking place.
A dangerous environment
The care community can be held accountable for injury caused to a patient due to hazards such as wet floors or raised carpeting.
The authorities may punish the offenders by putting them behind bars. However, victims may still face mounting medical bills or depleted finances. In such cases, the expertise of a skilled nursing home lawyer can be beneficial.
These lawyers have witnessed horrific nursing home abuse very closely through previous cases. They are motivated to provide legal help to victims to enable them to recover from the trauma.
A nursing home abuse lawyer can help you:
- Collect evidence.
- File a case against the nursing home, staff members, or administrative team.
- Assist victims in getting the rightful compensation that they deserve for medical expenses and other related costs.
You may be able to receive a cash payout to compensate for lost savings, medical expenses, and other costs. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help their client receive the most compensation in the least amount of time.
If you suspect that your older adult or another senior might be experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect, consult a skilled nursing home abuse attorney soon. The skilled attorneys at Reeves & Mestayer can help review your case and recommend the best course of action to get fair compensation for your losses. For a no charge consultation, call today at 1-855-558-2977.