Nursing home abuse occurs when caretakers harm residents of long-term care facilities. This harm can be intentional or unintentional but either way, it can result in trauma, medical emergencies and even death. Sadly, nursing home abuse is prevalent due to understaffing, improper training, and staff burnout.
Putting a loved one in a nursing home, under the care of someone else takes an enormous amount of trust. When nursing homes and their staff break that trust and break the rules, you need the experienced and dedicated California nursing home negligence lawyers of Duque Law to hold them accountable.
When a nursing home fails to provide proper care, residents can suffer significant physical and psychological damage. Knowing the signs of neglect can help to prevent or stop it before your loved one suffers greatly.
Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men, and may be family members, friends, or “trusted others.”
In general, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Nursing home abuse is a serious issue at facilities across the country, with neglect being considered one of the most common forms of abuse. Neglect occurs when a person does not receive the proper level of care he or she needs. This level can vary depending on the individual case, but for nursing home residents, it often includes basic hygiene, assistance with eating and help with mobility.
Most victims of abuse are women, but some are men. Likely targets are older adults who have no family or friends nearby and people with disabilities, memory problems, or dementia.
Abuse can happen to any older adult, but often affects those who depend on others for help with activities of everyday life — including bathing, dressing, and taking medicine. People who are frail may appear to be easy victims.
Abuse of elders takes many different forms, some involving intimidation or threats against the elderly, some involving neglect, and others involving financial trickery.
The most common are:
Physical abuse refers to any mistreatment by a long-term care employee that leads to physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults such as hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement. If nursing home staff members intentionally cause physical harm to a resident, they are committing physical nursing home abuse.
However, physical abuse does not necessarily have to lead to severe or noticeable physical pain. The signs of certain types of physical abuse, such as malnutrition and dehydration, can be subtle and often go unnoticed.
Some nursing home residents may lack the physical and mental capacity to identify or report physical abuse when it happens.
Some of these warning signs include:
Emotional abuse occurs when a resident suffers emotional pain or stress from deliberate acts of malicious and non-physical exploitation.
Emotional abuse does not leave visible scars. This makes forms of emotional abuse includes inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts, e.g. humiliating, intimidating, or threatening. Subsequently, it makes emotional abuse one of the most common forms of mistreatment in nursing homes.
Some of the different types of emotional abuse include:
Like neglect, emotional abuse is difficult to recognize. It often takes a keen and concerned third party to identify the signs of emotional abuse in a senior.
Possible warning signs include:
General neglect includes failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation. This constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. Some nursing home residents may be left unattended for extended periods, putting them in danger. Nursing home neglect can lead to dehydration, sepsis, and pressure ulcers, among other deadly situations.
General neglect is the refusal to provide a nursing care patient with basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, medication, and personal safety measures.
General neglect in a nursing home may involve the failure to:
Nursing home neglect is often subtle, making it difficult for some people to recognize, exposing seniors to potential abuse.
Some of the warning signs that might identify neglect in nursing homes include:
Sexual abuse in nursing home includes any form of unwanted sexual activity. Contact with an elderly person without their consent. Such contact can involve physical sex acts, but activities such as showing an elderly person pornographic material, forcing the person to watch sex acts, or forcing the elder to undress are also considered sexual elder abuse.
In most instances, sexual assault in nursing homes happens to vulnerable patients who are unable to stop advances or give consent.
Some of the observable warning signs of sexual abuse in nursing homes include:
Financial abuse involves taking advantage of someone else’s financial assets for one’s own gain, without that person understanding the consequences or implications of any financial transactions that are made.
Since the elderly may have physical or mental conditions that limit their cognitive abilities, they may not be able to understand when someone is taking advantage of them. Abuse can be committed by caregivers, family members, or any other individuals who have contact with the elderly person.
This type of abuse may take several people, working inside and outside, and a lot of time before the fraud is successful.
Some of the types of financial abuse in nursing homes include:
There are a number of red flags that may indicate an elderly person is experiencing financial abuse while in a nursing home.
Some of the warning signs of financial abuse in nursing homes include:
Elder abuse will not stop on its own. Someone else needs to step in and help. Many older adults are too ashamed to report mistreatment. Or, they are afraid if they make a report it will get back to the abuser and make the situation worse.
If you have concerns about nursing home abuse in Southern California, you should discuss your case with a nursing home abuse attorney immediately! At DuQue Law, our dynamic team has years of experience representing nursing home patients that have been harmed by abuse or neglect. We seek justice for patients and their families who have suffered from preventable injuries. Call us now at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.
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