When family members aren’t able to stay home to care for a loved one who is no longer able to care for themselves, it’s a scary time for everyone involved. The decision to leave an elderly loved one in a strange and new environment is never easy. Aside from being apart from our loved ones, there are many unknown factors, all of which are out of our hands.
When we drive away from a nursing home facility and leave our loved ones behind, we leave all our trust and faith in the comforting words the nursing home director and a smiling staff told us as we took the grand tour of the premises. “You don’t have to worry about anything. Your loved one will be looked after and protected as we would with our own family.”
However, news headlines often tell a different story; the real story about what lurks behind a nursing home’s fancy exterior facade. It’s a dark tale. One that makes anyone who has a loved one living in a nursing home feel like they’ve been punched in the gut.
Did you know that according to a recent study, 10% of adults aged 60 and older are the subjects of abuse by caretakers, family members, and even total strangers? Let’s go over what nursing home abuse is and we can help your loved one if they’ve sadly been a victim.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Any sort of abuse — including physical or emotional injuries, sexual assault, or financial exploitation — that happens to elderly people in long-term care facilities is referred to as nursing home abuse.
Families entrust their loved ones to nursing homes to look after, yet nursing homes may or may not provide the secure environments that are promised. In recent years, stories of elders being subjected to various types of nursing home abuse have captivated the media.
Many of these problems are caused by the nursing home’s employees, who were hired to give care. Issues arise from large senior care corporations that may give up on important personnel training and other good practices to make a profit at the expense of residents.
Five Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Depending on the situation, nursing home abuse might be divided into a few distinct categories that may overlap in certain instances. For example, a loved one might be subject to both emotional and physical abuse at the hands of a caretaker or another resident.
It is critical that you are informed as to the kind or types of nursing home abuse your loved one is enduring, and that you report it. You can prevent your loved one from further abuse and protect other nursing home patients from harm by reporting nursing home maltreatment.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), there are five common types of nursing home abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.
The top five types of nursing home abuse are:
Verbal or psychological abuse, often known as emotional maltreatment, is a form of aggressive verbal or mental abuse that targets residents. It’s the most prevalent sort of nursing home abuse. According to the World Health Organization, 31% of nursing home personnel have been emotionally abusive towards residents.
Emotional abuse may take various forms, including::
- Enforcing restrictions on a resident’s freedom of action.
- Insulting the resident’s appearance or intellect
- Isolation of the elderly from their families, friends, and other people living in the facility
- Making threats
Residents who are the victims of emotional elder abuse can experience persistent mental health issues, such as sadness, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Elder abuse occurs when a person takes money from an older person through fraud or manipulation.
Financial abuse includes the following situations:
- Misusing the power of attorney to alter a resident’s will
- Preventing the resident from withdrawing their own money
- Stealing a person’s cash, credit cards, or valuables
- Taking financial records or bank statements from a resident without their permission.
Residents of nursing homes can be subjected to significant anxiety as a result of financial abuse. They may lose income and assets, which they will need to pay for their long-term care.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect happens when caregivers don’t give adequate medical treatment. As a result, the patient’s physical and emotional health deteriorates.
The difference between neglect and nursing home abuse is that abuse is an intentional act done to harm someone, whereas nursing home neglect is the result of carelessness or indifference on the part of the nursing home staff.
Nursing home neglect includes the following situations:
- Medication Errors
- Not Receiving Adequate Personal Hygiene
- Dehydration and Malnutrition
- Failing to quickly report injuries/illnesses to doctors/family
- Ignoring a resident’s complaints
- Leaving residents unattended for periods of time
Neglecting a nursing home resident may have devastating consequences.
When a resident is injured or harmed in any way, it is known as physical nursing home abuse. In a 2020 survey from the World Health Organization (WHO), over 9% of nursing home employees acknowledged having physically harassed patients.
Physical abuse in a nursing home may take the form of:
- Being punched or kicked
- Straps or ties might be used to restrict the movement of the resident.
- Pushing or shoving a resident.
Residents who have experienced physical violence may display the following symptoms: fractures, contusions, and bleeding. Any resident can be subjected to physical abuse, although persons with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease are more susceptible.
Physical abuse of elders may result in serious injuries or even death if it isn’t treated promptly. Fortunately, financial assistance may be available to cover medical expenses and emotional distress if you or a loved one was subjected to physical nursing home mistreatment.
When a person suffers any kind of unwelcome sexual contact, touching, or groping, this is known as sexual assault. Sexual elder abuse can result in bodily harm such as bruises, scratches, and sexually transmitted illnesses as well as psychological trauma.
Unfortunately, people who are disabled or unable to consent to sexual activity are frequently the victims of sexual abuse.
Recently in San Diego, California, KPBS launched a news story about how an accused sexual predator was allowed to continue to work inside nursing homes even as the state investigated him for violating women in his care. Soon after the stories aired, the man was arrested and charged. In March 2022, a jury convicted him of sexually assaulting a nursing home resident.
What Causes Nursing Home Abuse?
Causes of nursing home abuse may be numerous. Several of them are due to issues with nursing home employees or the facilities’ management organizations.
The most typical reasons for nursing home abuse include::
Staff members may be required to work long hours, and dealing with residents’ demands can be physically and emotionally draining. Instead of expressing their frustrations in a healthy way, staff members may verbally or violently lash out at residents.
Staff members may approach rich nursing home residents with the goal of stealing their life savings or other financial assets by pretending to be friends, collecting bogus checks, or stealing their credit cards.
Lack of Supervision
When parents are busy working or caring for another family member, insufficient monitoring can allow caregivers to be inattentive, resulting in significant neglect for hours or even days at a time.
If a nursing home has staffing problems, it can put significant pressure on its current staff. According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), having a lower nurse/resident ratio may have a significant influence on a nursing home’s overall healthcare.
Many nursing homes are owned by large, for-profit corporations that seek to increase their earnings. This might lead to a range of difficulties, as an institution may hire staff with no prior expertise at a lower cost and fail to adequately train or monitor them, increasing the likelihood of nursing home abuse.
Abuse against elders in nursing homes is never acceptable, regardless of the reason. Every elderly person deserves a secure living situation — yet far too many older people are harmed.
How You Can Help Your Loved One
It’s difficult to spot the warning signs of elder abuse, even for those with experience. Many of the indicators and symptoms of elder neglect and abuse overlap with those associated with mental strain. It’s critical to be informed and active so that you may avoid elder neglect and abuse in the first place.
The following actions can assist in preventing elder neglect and abuse as a caregiver or loved one:
- Visit as often as you can at odd hours of the day.
- Hold the facility and caretaker accountable; make sure that the staff is adequate and attentive.
- To guarantee that the doctor’s instructions are followed, keep track of the senior’s medicines.
- Make sure the elder knows that you’ll be looking for signs of financial abuse and unauthorized transactions on their checking account and credit card statements.
- As soon as possible, report suspected abuse to a nursing home abuse attorney or the abuse hotline.
How Can An Attorney Help You?
Nursing home mistreatment is both reprehensible and inexcusable. To avoid future harm, it should be swiftly addressed and reported. If your loved one is still living at the facility where they were harmed, you might want to move them somewhere else to ensure their safety.
If you suspect your loved one has been assaulted in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. Law firms with nursing home attorneys assist individuals who have been wronged or neglected in their quest for financial compensation and justice. A nursing home abuse lawyer can improve the legal procedure, increasing the chances of obtaining financial compensation.
A lawyer may use a lawsuit to demonstrate that:
- The nursing home was responsible for the victim’s well-being under the law.
- Staff members of a nursing home harmed a resident as a result of negligence or deliberate violence.
- The staff’s actions resulted in long-term or permanent injuries for the resident.
- The victim’s family and other people who live in the house must be paid their losses.
In certain circumstances, individuals who sued a nursing home for abuse received millions of dollars in legal payments and trial decisions.
Kirakosian Law And Nursing Home Abuses
If you have a loved one living in a nursing home or assisted living facility and suspect they have undergone or are currently suffering any form of abuse or neglect, you need to contact our nursing home abuse and neglect attorney today to discuss how we can investigate the circumstances and get justice and compensation for your loved one.
At Kirakosian Law, our attorneys are committed and dedicated to fighting injustice wherever it degrades humanity. The elderly who cared for our welfare and now must rely on us to safeguard theirs is our highest priority. We handle these kinds of cases with the greatest degree of compassion and confidentiality and will work hard to guard your loved one from any unnecessary stress and anxiety should the case have to go to trial.
We’ll make sure your loved one’s nursing home does not put their profits ahead of safety. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Kirakosian Law today. As your Nursing Home Abuse Attorney – We Get Results