Due in part to the sheer number of people in the Baby Boomer generation, elder care has become big business. Choosing the right facility, affording the right facility, and making complicated decisions for loved ones can be overwhelming. We want to trust that our loved one will enjoy good quality of life in a nursing home while receiving the care they need. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Statistics show the shocking prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect at the hands of those trusted to care for our loved ones. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse:
- 44% of nursing home residents said they had been abused;
- 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating elderly patients, including neglect, mental abuse, and physical violence;
- 50% of dementia nursing home patients have faced abuse;
- 51% of Certified Nursing Assistants reported they yelled at a nursing home resident, with 17% admitting to pushing, grabbing, or shoving their patients; and
- 95% of nursing home residents said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
These statistics are alarming. They serve as a reminder that we must be vigilant to protect our vulnerable loved ones.
What is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing Home Abuse is an overt action that causes harm. This type of outright abuse can be at the hands of nursing home staff or even other nursing home residents.
Examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse: hitting, pushing, shaking, beating, kicking or slapping;
- Sexual abuse: rape, molestation or other forms of sexual assault;
- Emotional/mental abuse: threats, yelling, verbal intimidation or mocking; or
- Over-medicating: over-sedation, or use of medication for any purpose not consistent with that authorized by a doctor.
Nursing Home Neglect is a failure to provide a resident with proper care or services to keep them free from physical or mental harm. Neglect of your elderly loved one is more likely to occur than outright abuse—and it can be just as dangerous and damaging.
Examples of nursing home neglect include:
- Basic needs neglect: failure to provide a patient with adequate food, water, help with hygiene, or to protect the patient from dangerous situations;
- Medical neglect: failure to prevent or treat a patient’s medical concerns; or
- Social neglect: failure to address the social and emotional needs of an elderly patient, such as repeatedly ignoring and leaving them alone for long periods of time.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
If you feel something is amiss with your loved one in a care facility, listen to your gut and investigate further. Our intuition deserves more credit than we give it. Watch out for these signs that your loved one could be a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Physical injuries, including unexplained bruising, cuts or broken bones;
- Any injury or death occurring as a result of a patient wandering from or within the facility;
- Heavy sedation or medication;
- Frequent and repeated illnesses;
- Frequent infections, including urinary tract infections;
- Appearance of malnutrition or dehydration;
- Changes in personal hygiene;
- Bed sores;
- Unusual changes in behavior, including withdrawing;
- Violent incidents between residents;
- Failure to promptly report illness or events to the patient’s doctor and family;
- Unsanitary or unclean conditions; or
- Noticeable hazards in the facility, such as unsafe equipment, poor lighting, or slippery floors.
When visiting your loved one in a nursing home, be mindful of the signs of elder abuse and neglect. It is the best protection you can provide your loved one.
Abeyta Nelson Injury Law regularly helps elderly victims and their families obtain justice for nursing home abuse or neglect. If you suspect your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, act quickly to prevent further suffering and harm.
If you believe your loved one has suffered injury, or may have passed away as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, we can obtain answers about what happened and advise the family what to do. Call Abeyta Nelson today to schedule a free consultation. There is never a charge to discuss your questions with us, and never a fee unless we win your case.
-blog written by attorney Maggie Lund, Abeyta Nelson Injury Law