The numbers regarding nursing home abuse should stop us all in our tracks. One study of nursing home residents found that 44 percent reported experiencing abuse at one point. Shockingly, 95 percent reported that they had either been neglected or witnessed neglect. Research also reveals that more than 50 percent of those employed at nursing homes have admitted to mistreating or abusing residents. Unfortunately, we do know that elder abuse is drastically underreported. The roughly 1.5 million people who receive full-time care at nursing homes across the country face some serious risks to their health, happiness, and lives.
A Closer Look at Nursing Home Abuse
Neglect is a silent epidemic that is rampant throughout many facilities in the country. This hard-to-define problem is characterized by a caregiver’s failure to meet the obligations related to the care of a person. This often includes denials related to hygiene needs, nutritional needs, medical care or clothing.
Abuse often presents noticeable symptoms. However, it is important to note that the absence of physical symptoms does not indicate the absence of abuse. Here is a look at some of the common symptoms of elder abuse:
- Signs of physical abuse can include unexplained injuries, bruises, broken bones, and burns.
- Signs of emotional abuse can include anxiety, a visible fear of staff, withdrawal from family, an unwillingness to talk to family members and drastic changes in mood or personality.
- Signs of sexual abuse can include the development of sexually transmitted diseases or injuries to the genitals.
- Signs of neglect can include malnourishment, visible poor hygiene, and unmet medical needs.
- Signs of abandonment can include soiled bedding, soiled clothing and lack of proper medical care.
- Signs of financial abuse can include unexplained financial transactions or sudden changes to legal documents.
If you observe any of the above-noted signs, please contact your local ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES
All or any of these signs should be taken seriously even if a patient does not report abuse. Factors like dementia or loss of mobility can make it difficult for abused patients to speak for themselves. Some even receive threats from staff members that cause them to withdraw from their families.
What Can Be Done About Abuse in Nursing Homes?
Loved ones and staff members should do their best to monitor and document the physical and mental health of nursing home residents. It is important to contact Adult Protective Services as soon as possible if abuse is suspected. The National Center on Elder Abuse’s page for reporting abuse is another important resource. The U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime for Elder Abuse and Mistreatment may also be able to provide support and resources. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be able to prove abuse to report your suspicions. In some cases, a civil lawsuit may be warranted. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney if you believe that a loved one is being abused by nursing home staff.
Law Offices of Antoniette Jauregui prides itself on the successful handling of Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Abuse cases. If you or your loved one have been physically or financially abused by a family member or a nursing home facility, please call attorney Antoniette Jauregui at 909-663-9735 for a free consultation.