When A Loved One Is Abused In A Nursing Home

Over 1.5 million seniors live in nursing homes. Although they are entitled to receive proper care, many suffer from serious abuse and neglect, including poor medical care, bad sanitation, and even physical and verbal abuse. There can be various causes of abuse and neglect, such as too few staff at a nursing home to care for all residents, poor or improper training of staff, and even intentional acts of wrongdoing. Elder abuse is a growing problem, with a 20% increase in reported cases of abuse in just the last few years. When abuse and neglect occur, the loved ones of the abuse victim should immediately take steps to end this conduct and enforce legal rights.

Rights of Nursing Home Residents

 
Nursing home residents have many rights. At a minimum, federal law specifies that these rights include:

• Freedom from discrimination. Nursing homes cannot discriminate based on race, color, national origin, disability, age or religion.

• Respect. Residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

• Freedom from abuse and neglect. Residents have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse.

• Freedom from restraints. Physical or chemical restraints can’t be used, unless needed to treat medical symptoms.

• Medical care. Residents have the right to be informed about their medical condition, medications and to see their own doctor.

Types of Abuse and Neglect

 
Elder abuse is an umbrella term that refers to any intentional or negligent act by a caregiver that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. There are several different kinds of abuse. They include:

• Physical abuse – Physical abuse is inflicting pain or injury on an elder. Examples are slapping, hitting, pushing, shoving, kicking, and pinching. The wrongful use of drugs, physical restraints and force-feeding are also examples of physical abuse.

• Sexual abuse – This is non-consensual sexual contact of any kind. It includes unwanted touching as well as all types of sexual assault and battery. Sexual contact with a person who is incapable of giving consent is also considered sexual abuse.

• Emotional abuse – This psychological abuse includes inflicting mental pain, anguish or distress on an elder by verbal or nonverbal acts. Examples are humiliating, threatening, intimidating or harassing the elder. Preventing an elder from seeing his or her family or socializing with other residents is also a form of emotional abuse.

• Neglect – This is the refusal or failure by those responsible to provide proper care of the elder. Neglect of an elder usually takes the form of denying the person basic necessities like food, clothes, shelter, hygiene and medical care.

How To Spot Abuse And Neglect

 
In some cases, seniors are reluctant to admit they are being victimized by their caregiver. They may be fearful of what will happen if they report the abuse. It is therefore important for loved ones to be able to spot signs of possible abuse and neglect. There are many signs, including:

• physical signs – bruises, broken bones, wounds, cuts, abrasions and burns may indicate physical abuse, neglect or mistreatment.

• emotional signs – withdrawal from normal activities or unusual depression may be indicators of psychological abuse.

• bedsores, poor hygiene and unusual weight loss may indicate possible neglect.

If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect

 
If you have a loved one in a nursing home and suspect he or she is being abused or neglected, call us. We will investigate to determine if abuse or neglect occurred, and advise you of the legal options to end it as well as recover damages for it. It is vital to call as soon as possible so the conduct can be stopped and the victim’s legal rights enforced.

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