NURSING HOME Abuse & Neglect
Prevent elder abuse.
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Prevention Day
May 31, 2017
You may have heard the terms “nursing home abuse” and “elder abuse” in the news, or maybe you heard a friend or a loved one speak about it. The expert elder abuse attorneys at Adams Fietz know that there’s a great deal of misinformation on these subjects. It’s best to know the facts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that around two million people aged 65 and older live in one of the nation’s more than 16,000 nursing homes. No small number of them have reported neglect or abuse at the hands of nursing home staffers. Nursing home abuse can take several forms.
Physical abuse in a nursing home setting refers to the intentional infliction of physical harm upon a resident, and is probably the most noticeable form of abuse. This category includes but is not limited to such actions as punching, kicking, slapping, and the use of excessive or unreasonable restraints.
Not all nursing home residents are able to speak for themselves, so they may not be able to notify you of an abuse situation. Be on the lookout for possible warning signs, which include but are not limited to:
• unexplained injuries, scars, bruises, or marks;
• reports of the resident’s refusal to take medications, or of medication overdoses;
• a caregiver’s reluctance to allow a resident to be alone with his or her loved ones.
Emotional abuse is less noticeable than physical abuse. In fact, its warning signs are often very inconspicuous.
Emotional abuse – whether in a nursing home or elsewhere – is the deliberate causing of fear, anxiety, anguish, or any other form of undesirable mental or emotional state. Some emotional abuse arises from neglect rather than from deliberate action, and this form of abuse can be even more difficult to detect. Passive behavior that can inflict emotional abuse includes a caregiver intentionally ignoring a resident’s requests or needs.
Possible warning signs of emotional abuse include:
• questionable or suspicious behavior on the part of caregivers;
• a caregiver’s reluctance to allow a resident to be alone with his or her loved one.
We’ve all read the news stories about elders falling victim to fraud and other forms of manipulative exploitation. Unfortunately, such cases are not confined to phone scams and phishing schemes – they can occur in nursing homes, as well
Elderly people are, in fact, especially susceptible to fraud and exploitation, largely because they may need to rely on others to “be their eyes,” inform them of goings-on, or offer mental and emotional support. Many elders even rely on others to manage their finances – a situation that could easily lead to exploitation.
Many forms of intentional financial exploitation involve caregivers who have access to a resident’s bank account information, credit card numbers, and other such data. This, in turn, can lead to other forms of abuse, including identity theft.
Some nursing home residents have fallen victim to healthcare fraud, a situation in which a caregiver charges money for services that are not actually performed. In such cases, a resident’s health may be adversely affected by the fact that necessary treatments or services are not carried out.
Some of the possible warning signs of financial abuse include:
• unexpected and unexplained changes to wills, power of attorney documents, and do-not-resuscitate forms;
• unpaid bills or unexplained charges;
• unexplained changes or additions of beneficiaries to life insurance policies;
• loss of money or property
Sexual abuse of elders in a nursing home situation is not often discussed, yet it does occur. In many cases, sexual abuse of elders occurs because nursing home residents are often reliant on others for care.
Sexual abuse is not solely a physical issue – it has an emotional component, as well. Any sexually oriented conversation or communication, if not consented to by both parties, can constitute sexual abuse. This form of abuse can also involve, for instance, forced disrobing.
Some of the possible warning signs of sexual abuse of an elder include:
• diagnoses of STDs;
• injuries or reports of injuries around the genitalia and/or breasts;
• unexplained genital bleeding;
• stained or damaged clothing or bedding.
Elderly Abuse Statistics
Breakdown of Reported Elder Abuse Cases
Neglect - 58.5 %
Physical Abuse - 15.7 %
Financial Exploitation - 12.3 %
Signs of nursing home abuse may include:
• Broken bones or fractures
• Bruising, cuts or welts
• Bed sores
• Frequent infections
• Signs of Dehydration
• Mood swings and emotional outbursts
• Reclusiveness or refusal to speak
• Refusal to eat or take medications
• Unexplained weight loss
• Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness
• Changes in mental status
• Caregivers that do not want patient to be left alone with others.
Not all patients with these symptoms have been subject to nursing home abuse but any sign should be cause for further investigation.
Contact Adams Fietz immediately if you suspect that a loved one is suffering from elder abuse. During your free initial legal consultation, we will explore your options with you and advise you on the expected outcome for your specific case, giving you the information you need to decide the best course of action for you. If you choose our team to work with you, be assured that our Santa Rosa personal injury lawyers will fight to secure the compensation you deserve for your loved one’s suffering. All cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means that clients pay nothing unless they win.
At Adams Fietz, we stand ready to pursue any case to trial to ensure that our clients and their loved ones are able to secure the compensation needed to regain their former quality of life. Contact us today and rest easy knowing you are not alone.
Please contact us at 1(855) 464-0808 or for a free legal evaluation of your claims today!
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