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Nursing Home Abuse – General Information
Two out of every five Americans will need long-term care at some point in their lives. Today, about 1.5 million Americans live in our nation’s 17,000 nursing homes. Americans 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of our national population. From 1960-1994, that group increased by more than 274%. With constant advances in medical technology, longevity is expected to rise for all ages. By 2030, one in every five Americans will be a senior citizen.
Unfortunately, our senior citizens are becoming victims of intentional abuse and neglect within nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While it is difficult enough to place a family member in a home, it is even more difficult to see that family member suffer under the care of an abusive, overburdened, and under trained nursing home staff.
The National Center for Elder Abuse reports that neglect of our senior citizens’ basic needs is the number one type of elder abuse. Physical abuse by caregivers ranks as the second most common form of elder mistreatment. Almost one million senior citizens are victimized each year.
When abuse or neglect occurs in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, it is often referred to as “institutional abuse.” Institutional abuse can include physical, emotional, and unbelievably sexual abuse.
General neglect of seniors is the most prevalent type of abuse. While physical, sexual, and mental abuse are the result of intentional and purposeful acts of the staff, neglect may occur when a caregiver simply does not care. Caregivers neglect their duty when they fail to provide some necessary element for the resident’s survival. Such neglect can include anything from failing to provide food and water to not paying bills. Neglect often leads to health disorders such as dehydration and malnutrition, both of which can be fatal if left untreated.
Physical elderly abuse can include, but is not limited to, hitting, slapping, pinching, and kicking of an elderly resident, as well as controlling behavior through corporal punishment. Emotional abuse is mistreatment that does not result in physical harm. Mental or psychological elderly abuse can include but is not limited to humiliation, harassment, and threats of punishment, deprivation, or intimidation.
It is important to thoroughly understand the warning signs of potential nursing home negligence:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures in various stages of healing
- Bedsores or frozen joints
- Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections; vaginal or anal bleeding; torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
- Staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitor
- Resident being kept in an over-medicated state
- Loss of resident’s possessions
- Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices
- Abrupt changes in will or other financial documents
If a nursing home fails to administer care in a professional and compassionate manner, and you or your loved one has suffered from inadequate care, you may be entitled to compensation. In order to protect your rights, or the rights of a loved one, you should contact a nursing home attorney experienced in elder abuse cases. If you would like us to give you a referral please call toll free at 1 (800) 807-9530 for a confidential consultation or fill out our contact form and we will call you.