Nursing home abuse cases can be extremely upsetting and difficult to process. After all, the elderly are amongst our most vulnerable citizens. You entrusted a nursing home with providing your aging relative with excellent round-the-clock care in a safe and comfortable environment. If instead your loved one suffers abuse or neglect, it can be devastating and overwhelming.
You’ve found a nursing home that’s a good fit for your elderly loved one. Staying in close contact with the staff and nursing home administrators and visiting your loved one often on a varied schedule will allow you to get a better feel for how the nursing home operates and for how your loved one is managing. Because nursing home abuse does happen, however, it’s important to stay alert for any signs of abuse:
Nursing homes can be busy places. If the nursing home is in constant chaos, however, it’s a bad sign. A rapid turnover of staff members that never seems to level out can also be indicative of a problem. The goal is to find a happy, warm, and engaged staff that takes pride in doing a rewarding job well. Beware of phones that never get answered and call buttons that go unheard.
It’s natural to have questions about your loved one’s care, and you’re encouraged to ask them. If the staff can’t or won’t answer your questions, take them to the facility’s director. Not answering questions or evading questions is a bad sign.
Be on the lookout for physical symptoms. These include not just unexplained injuries, bruises, or bedsores—watch for dehydration and malnutrition, which frequently occur with nursing home abuse.
If your loved one exhibits fearfulness or agitation related to receiving care from a specific staff member – or when near a specific staff member – this may be an important clue. Take your concerns to the director of the facility immediately and request a different caregiver.
If you’re concerned that your aging parent or relative may be the victim of nursing home abuse, you need experienced legal counsel. Time is of the essence, and the compassionate legal team at The Levin Firm is here to help. These cases are especially difficult for family members and you should know where to turn for help. Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help protect your loved one and handle any legal action against a nursing home provider that may be necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines nursing home abuse – or elder abuse – as a caregiver’s intentional action or failure to act that causes a resident to be harmed or to be at risk of being harmed. The CDC categorizes such abuse into distinct classifications:
Neglect occurs when a caregiver or care facility fails to protect residents in its care from harm or fails to meet their basic needs – including adequate medical care, nutrition, hydration, personal hygiene, along with comfortable shelter, social interaction, and daily living activities.
Physical abuse occurs if a caregiver or care facility implements intentional physical force that causes a resident injury, pain, illness, emotional distress, or death.
When a caregiver or care facility uses verbal or nonverbal means to inflict mental anguish, emotional distress, or fear, it’s emotional (or psychological) abuse. Such abuse can include threats, humiliation, social isolation, and the exertion of control.
Sexual contact of any sort that is forced upon or unwanted by a resident is abusive sexual contact. Sexual abuse also includes any sexual contact exerted against an incapacitated resident or a resident who is incapable of consenting.
Financial abuse or exploitation occurs when a caregiver or care facility uses a resident’s resources improperly, without authorization, or for illegal purposes for the benefit of someone other than the resident.
If you suspect that your loved one may have suffered any kind of abuse or neglect while in a nursing home, seek immediate legal counsel. Time is critical when it comes to protecting your aging relative.
While nursing home abuse is thought to be underreported, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) relays that millions are victimized by nursing home abuse each year. Further, the NCEA forwards two startling statistics:
A 2001 U.S. House of Representatives report found that almost one in three nursing homes in the prior two years had been cited for violating federal standards that either caused a resident to be harmed or could have. Additionally, 1 out of 10 nursing homes had been cited for violating federal standards that either caused a resident to be seriously injured or to be put in jeopardy of dying.
A study of 2,000 nursing home resident interviews revealed that 44 percent of these residents reported being abused and 95 percent reported being neglected or witnessing another resident’s neglect.
If your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, it can be a difficult time for both you and our loved one. You need experienced legal counsel, and the dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is committed to aggressively advocating for your relative’s rights, rightful compensation, and dignity. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.
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