Did you know that 30% of all nursing homes in the U.S. contain residents who have been victims of abuse?
With more than 3.2 million elderly people residing in nursing homes, cases of abuse and neglect have been on the rise. The tragedy of Hurricane Irma and the deaths associated with nursing home residents unable to get proper care during this natural disaster has once again brought this important issue to the forefront.
In fact, a recent report by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) revealed that nearly one in three nursing homes received citations for violation of rules that resulted in potential harm to residents in a two-year period.
Most nursing homes do provide quality care to their residents. If, however, you have reasons to suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, you should take necessary action. Never allow suspected abuse or neglect to go unchecked.
Here are vital warning signs that a nursing home resident is a victim of neglect or abuse.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Abuse in nursing homes come in many forms, with all of it damaging in some way.
Since abused elders are less likely to report abuse for fear of shame, loved ones need to be vigilant to identify any signs of abuse or neglect.
According to the data from the National Ombudsman Reporting System, common mistreatments that occur in nursing homes are physical abuse, gross neglect, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
Here are the signs to look for:
- Unexplained injuries, sores, and burns
- Dismissive attitude and refusal to discuss how the injuries occurred
- Weight loss
- Inappropriate clothing, lack of adequate food, untreated bedsores
- Poor personal hygiene
- Acting suspicious and fearful for no reason
- Being uncommunicative
- Withdrawal from normal activities
- Bloody or torn undergarments
- Unusual vaginal bleeding or signs of sexually transmitted diseases
- Signatures on checks that don’t match the elder’s signature
- Unusual activities on bank accounts, such as large withdraws
- Assets, property, and accounts switched into someone else’s name
In the tragic event that your loved one exhibits any of these signs, what should you do?
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Even if you are not sure that your loved one is being mistreated, it is important that you take immediate action. Otherwise, your loved one could suffer a life-threatening injury in a nursing home.
If you are suspicious of abuse or neglect, we strongly urge you take the following steps:
Step 1: Recognize the Signs
Signs of nursing home neglect and abuse can be difficult to spot.
However, signs such as unexplained injuries, should arouse your suspicion.
Step 2: Question the Nursing Home Management Regarding the Signs
Do not jump to conclusions without questioning the facility’s staff regarding the possible mistreatment. What you may have perceived as abuse could turn out to be something entirely different.
If for some reason the staff seems uncooperative or unwilling to answer your questions, you will want to take further action.
Step 3: Discuss the Situation with Your Loved One
Speak with your loved one concerning the situation privately.
If the nursing home management refuses to allow this for any reason, prepare to remove your loved one from the facility and to inform the relevant authorities by gathering all the evidence you can get.
Step 4: Remove Your Loved One
By now you have incontrovertible proof that the nursing home has abused or neglected your loved one.
The next step will be to remove your loved one and take them to a caring facility where their needs will be met before filing a claim. It is advisable to call the police if there is imminent danger.
Step 5: Get Legal Help
Regardless of where you live, you can always report nursing home neglect and abuse to your local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, it is important you talk to an attorney who is experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases.
The attorney will further investigate the claims, and if substantiated, seek proper compensation for the aggrieved party.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
With so many cases of nursing home neglect and abuse, it can be hard to determine the best facility for your loved one.
However, you can minimize the risk by doing thorough research on the facility first to determine whether it has had allegations of elderly abuse in the past.
Should you need help in seeking legal redress for cases related to nursing home abuse and personal injury, reach out to us. We have a track record of favorable outcomes and years of experience handling such serious cases.
As one of the most successful litigation practices in the Philadelphia area, Marrone Law Firm, LLC provides vigorous, effective representation in matters ranging from personal injury and medical malpractice to real estate and criminal law.