Bucks County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If your elderly parent or loved one is in a nursing home, you know exactly how much care and concern went into choosing the best facility with the right care for your loved one. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse happens. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that millions of elderly people in the United States suffer from nursing home abuse each year.
Information About Nursing Home Abuse
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as intentional acts or failures to act by a caregiver or institution that harms an elderly person (meaning at least 60 years old), or that places an elderly person at risk. The CDC categorizes nursing home abuse into several distinct classifications:
- Neglect refers to the failure to protect residents from harm or meet residents’ elemental needs for medical care, shelter, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, social interaction, and daily activities.
- Psychological or emotional abuse can include verbal or nonverbal acts that cause mental pain or anguish, fear, and/or emotional pain for the nursing home resident. Such abuse can include social isolation, tactics meant to humiliate and/or control, and verbal threats.
- Physical Abuse involves the intentional use of force that leads to injury, pain, emotional distress, functional impairment, or death.
- Abusive Sexual Contact refers to any forced or unwanted sexual encounters of any kind. If such actions are foisted upon a resident who’s incapacitated or who is incapable of consent, it’s sexual abuse.
- Financial Exploitation or Abuse involves unauthorized, improper, or illegal use of a resident’s resources for someone else’s benefit.
If you are concerned that your loved one may be experiencing abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you need skilled legal counsel. Your relative’s health, safety, and well-being are naturally your top priorities. If the care facility you’ve entrusted with your loved one’s health and well-being instead abuses or neglects your loved one, it can be devastating. At The Levin Firm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, our dedicated nursing home abuse attorneys have the requisite experience to fight for your elderly relative’s rights, dignity, physical safety, and just compensation. We care about your unique case, and we’re here to help.
Nursing Home Abuse: The Statistics
Nursing home abuse cases are believed underreported, such that the associated statistics are likely skewed. Nevertheless, the NCEA reports alarming statistics on the prevalence of nursing home abuse in the United States:
- In a study of 2,000 interviews conducted with nursing-home residents, 44 percent reported that they’d been abused and 95 percent reported that they’d been neglected or that they’d witnessed the neglect of another resident.
- A House of Representatives report found that almost one in three nursing homes violated federal standards and that those violations either harmed residents or had the potential to harm residents. Additionally, one in ten nursing homes had been cited for having harmed a resident, seriously injured a resident, or jeopardized the life of a resident.
- A 2010 study of nursing home staff found that more than 50 percent admitted to mistreating residents (usually in the form of neglect) in the year prior to the study.
These statistics show that nursing home abuse is not only real, it’s frighteningly pervasive. To ensure your loved one is not abused or neglected in a nursing home, you should be aware of the warning signs.
Some Of The Warning Signs
Once you safely settled your aging parent or loved one into a comfortable and well-run facility, you likely breathed a deep sigh of relief. You no doubt trust the nursing home to provide your elderly relative with excellent care that includes adequate social interaction, nutritious meals, a clean and homey living environment, and much more. If instead your loved one suffers nursing home abuse or neglect, it can be a very difficult emotional hurdle. Protect your loved one by learning these warning signs of nursing home abuse and remain alert to them:
Questions that Go Unanswered: If you have questions, ask them. If the nursing home staff can’t answer your questions, answers evasively, or won’t discuss your elderly relative’s care plan, consider it a red flag. Take your questions to the facility’s director, and don’t take “that’s just our policy” as an answer.
High Staff Turnover: If the staff turns over quickly, with staff departing suddenly and without explanation, pay attention—it could indicate that management is not providing sufficient oversight or training, resulting in inadequate care or abuse.
Physical Signs of Abuse: Physical signs of abuse or neglect are especially important, but don’t just look for signs of injuries. Dehydration and malnutrition are common signs of nursing home neglect that may be extremely serious, such as when dehydration leads to disorientation, weakness, and falls.
Tell-Tale Signs Of Physical Or Emotional Changes
While the aging process naturally leads to physical and emotional changes, be alert for any changes that just don’t fit or don’t seem quite right. If your loved one becomes withdrawn, moody, or depressed, make sure it is not related to a lack of adequate care. Visiting often and at irregular times, as well as staying in close contact with the staff, can help ensure that your loved one is receiving excellent care.
Agitation Or Fear
If your elderly relative seems afraid or appears agitated around a specific staff member, or asks not to receive care from that staff member, it signals a likely problem. Immediately address the issue with the facility’s director and request a different care provider.
These are just a few common signs of nursing home abuse. Stay alert to anything that strikes you as concerning and make sure it is addressed, or find a different nursing home provider.
If Your Loved One Has Suffered Nursing Home Abuse, You Need A Compassionate Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Nursing home abuse cases can be especially difficult and emotional. If you suspect that your elderly relative has suffered nursing home abuse, the dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is here to help. We have the experience, commitment, and compassion to fight for your loved one’s rights, dignity, and just compensation. Please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.