My parent is being abused in a nursing home, help! 

a nightmare scenario for anyone, but a horrific reality for many people. The National Center on Elder Abuse indicates that there are more than 2 million cases of elder abuse each year, astonishing numbers, and there are likely many more nursing home abuse cases that don’t get reported. This post hopes to shed some light on what a family member who suspects elder abuse should do – while a common form of nursing home abuse is seen by children to their parents, this type of abuse can happen to any elderly person and their family members should pay attention to the warning signs.

It’s Your Responsibility to Spot if Your Elderly Loved Ones are Being Abused

According to the United States Census Bureau, the 2010 census recorded the highest number and proportion of people 65 and older since population data was first collected in 1790, a trend that is likely to continue. As our population ages, more and more people will be turning to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in order to receive the care that they require. Nursing home residents and their loved ones have a right to expect that they will receive adequate care and be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of nursing home residents suffer needlessly due to abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home staff and administrators. This type of treatment needs to stop, and it is up to the younger generation to pay attention and help put an end to nursing home abuse.   

What are some common types of elder abuse?

Broadly defined, elder abuse refers to the mistreatment or neglect of older adults. It may be the result of intentional acts or simple carelessness and can take a variety of forms, including physical, emotional, or financial abuse.Some of the more common types of abuse to which individuals in nursing homes may be subjected include the following:

·         Overmedication
·         Sexual abuse
·         Coercion, threats, or intimidation
·         Violence
·        Unnecessary use of restraints
·         Financial exploitation
·         Withholding food or medication
·         Refusal or failure to treat an injury
·         Ignoring requests for care
·         Denying access to family or visitors

When these and other kinds of elder abuse occur, victims can sustain significant physical and emotional injuries. For this reason, it is important to take steps to ensure that any abuse that has occurred or is occurring is quickly addressed and that victims are compensated for their suffering.

Spotting the Signs Nursing Home Abuse

The Office of Justice Programs indicates that it is believed that the vast majority of elder abuse cases go unreported. There are a lot of reasons for the lack of reporting, but it often involves victims being too scared or embarrassed to discuss the matter with others. In other cases, an older adult with cognitive issues may simply be unaware of the fact that the abuse is going on. Consequently, it often is up to family members and other loved ones of nursing home residents to recognize and report abuse.

Some of the signs that elder abuse is occurring include:

·         Bedsores
·         Emotional withdrawal
·         Unexplained injuries
·         Unexplained infections
·         Unsanitary conditions
·         Weight loss
·         Fearful behavior
·         Reluctance to speak in front of staff
·         Bruises
·         Depression

What Should I do if I Spot Nursing Home Abuse?

If abuse is suspected, friends and family of nursing home residents should alert facility management immediately. In the event that harm seems imminent or ongoing, contact local law enforcement as well. Elder abuse should be reported to your State Agency responsible for dealing with these crimes, they will initiate an investigation and may pursue civil or criminal sanctions against the facility – click on the link to report abuse in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.

Pursuing a Legal Claim

Individuals who have been subjected to elder abuse are often entitled to significant financial compensation. It is important for victims to retain legal counsel soon as possible after it becomes clear that any mistreatment has occurred – a thorough investigation is needed and if you wait evidence of elder abuse can be lost or destroyed.
Victims of nursing home abuse and/or their loved ones who have been affected should take certain steps to help thier case including:

  • obtaining incident reports and records from the nursing home facility,
  • taking photographs of any physical injuries sustained by the resident,
  • recording the names of any facility staff that may have participated in the abuse or allowed the abuse to happen, and
  • documenting the existence of any hazardous or unsanitary conditions to which the resident may have been exposed.

If you believe that a parent or another loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact our nursing home abuse lawyers today.

Useful Resources: