Nursing home abuse is on the rise in the United States, which is alarming for several reasons. Today, approximately one in six residents of a senior care facility are subject to nursing home neglect (in various countries). This becomes even more disconcerting—considering more seniors are expected to require some type of housing or living assistance in the near future.
The situation is especially problematic for family members that are unable to be around a loved one 24/7. For this reason, nursing home neglect may go unnoticed for months or years. Families may overlook the problem because they falsely believe an elder is exaggerating (or worse)—fabricating the abuse.
It’s time to take nursing home neglect seriously. Seniors deserve protection, especially as they may lose mobility and need to rely on others for their welfare. As a result, you should not hesitate to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect foul play.
Stewart & Stewart wants to meet with you to discuss the allegations in a private, confidential setting. Contact us today to speak to an agent 24/7, seven days a week at (866) 926-2414.
Nursing Home Neglect—An Emerging Epidemic
Nursing home abuse and neglect are problematic as more seniors from the Baby Boomer generation reach an age where they require housing or living assistance. While most senior care facilities do their absolute best to ensure a safe and comfortable living environment, every provider should be held accountable.
Sadly, in many instances, it’s not the healthcare provider but rather a staffing shortage (or a bad apple among a caring bunch) that contributes to nursing home neglect. There are many steps you can take to make sure a senior is in the right hands, but first, let’s examine the various types of nursing home neglect:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Mental abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Sexual abuse
Are you concerned about the well-being of a loved one? Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at (866) 926-2414.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home neglect is easier to determine in cases of physical abuse or financial exploitation compared to other types of senior care misconduct. In many circumstances, it is difficult to find physical evidence. This often relies on the word of the senior versus the word of the staff/nursing home.
How do loved ones confirm their suspicions of nursing home abuse?
- Poor hygiene
- Broken bones
- Increased anxiety, depression, or confusion
- Detachment from family or friends
- Unexplainable money loss or charges
Nursing home abuse is sometimes intentional, while other times it’s more a result of lack of staffing or other inherent issues. Family members or friends should enlist the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer if they suspect any of the following:
Unfortunately, most people associate abuse with only the physical aspect, but there are many other types, including emotional, mental, and sexual abuse. Elder abuse can severely damage the physical, psychological, or financial welfare of a loved one.
In many situations, one of the first signs of nursing home neglect is malnutrition. Family members that notice significant weight loss should first speak with medical professionals. There may be a reasonable explanation for the weight loss (i.e., medication issues) or it could be an indication of nursing home abuse.
2. Unexplained Injuries
When people get older it is far easier to endure bruises and cuts. Sometimes this is normal and unavoidable, even with a caring and dedicated staff. Nonetheless, consistent or unexplained injuries should not go unnoticed by the family.
3. Unsanitary Conditions
While signs of malnutrition or injuries may have justifiable, legal causes, the same is not true of unsanitary conditions. Families spend a lot of money sending loved ones to a senior care facility. For this reason, there should never be an excuse for unsatisfactory cleanliness.
Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer if the living circumstances are unacceptable and the healthcare provider has done little or nothing to address the issue.
4. Sudden Changes in Behavior
Erratic or sudden changes in behavior are a strong indication of nursing home abuse. While the elderly may complain more about trivial problems, some of them might be justified.
Therefore, if a loved one is unresponsive or fails to explain the reasoning behind the behavioral changes, it could be related to neglect or abuse. The senior may be afraid to tell anyone out of fear of retaliation.
5. Uncomfortable Family Visits
The time during family visits is important for a variety of reasons, namely to check on the welfare of a loved one. Fittingly, along with checking for erratic behavior, study their body language and other indications of nursing home abuse.
For example, it is common for people that are abused to be more agitated or withdrawn from loved ones because of the trauma. In the worst scenarios, the loved one may refuse meetings with friends and family, or staff members may refuse close contact.
If this is the case, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately to explain your rights and obligations. Stewart & Stewart specializes in nursing home neglect and personal injury lawsuits. We can represent the voiceless. Contact us today at (866) 926-2414.