Nursing Home Abuse Happens Far Too Often
Nursing home abuse is a sensitive subject for many reasons. Sadly, as many as five million elders are abused every single year in the United States alone. In 2018, there were 15,304 nursing homes in the U.S., and about 15 percent of people 85 years or older live in these long-term care facilities. However, experts believe the numbers of older adults in nursing homes will increase dramatically over the next decade because of the Baby Boomer population. Although nursing homes have progressed a lot over the decades, there are still numerous areas that need improvement. This is seen most clearly through the prevalence of this abuse.
At Rad Law Firm, we have seen firsthand how devastating nursing home abuse can be. It is difficult enough to decide to have your loved one admitted to a nursing home, let alone when you learn of abuse or neglect. Before we look at the different types of nursing home abuse and tips for recognizing the most common signs of abuse, let’s look at some facts:
- 1 in 10 people over the age of 60 have experienced abuse
- Studies indicate that nearly 25 percent of nursing home residents experience physical abuse
- Just 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse get reported
- Verbal abuse is the most common form of self-reported abuse
- Women are more likely to face abuse (2 out of 3 victims are women)
- Individuals with mental impairment or disability are more likely to experience abuse
- 50 percent of people with dementia experience abuse or neglect by a trusted caretaker
- Social isolation can increase the chance of abuse
- Family members are responsible for the majority of elder abuse cases (90 percent)
- Adult children and spouses are the most likely to engage in abuse
- 50 percent of nursing home staff have admitted to the abuse
- Elders who experience abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death than those who have not
One of the most shocking facts about elder abuse is how often it goes unreported. Because of this, experts believe the numbers of abuse are even higher. If you or a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect, report it to the authorities right away. You are not alone, and this isn’t your fault. The Dallas nursing home abuse lawyers at Rad Law Firm are here to listen to your case. We understand how sensitive these cases can be, especially when the abuser is a family member, loved one, friend, or trusted caregiver. In today’s blog, we are going to take a closer look at the repercussions of this abuse and what can be done to stop it.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Laws and regulations protect all nursing home residents. An environment “free of abuse and neglect” is among their most basic rights. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Nursing home abuse can be challenging to define because of how broad it is. Yes, physical abuse is part of it, but so is emotional distress, mistreatment, and disrespect. The degree of abuse can also vary. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, or if you are planning on going to a long-term care facility, you must understand the common signs and different types of abuse. Often, older adults are unable to recognize abuse and are taken advantage of. It is our job to raise awareness and protect this vulnerable demographic.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse to Watch for
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), there are seven different types of elder abuse:
- Physical Abuse – The use of physical force that results in impairment, physical pain, or injury.
- Sexual Abuse -Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly individual.
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse – This is any pain, distress, or anguish that happens verbally or nonverbally. Examples include verbal assaults, insults, threats, humiliation, harassment, and intimidation.
- Financial Abuse – The illegal or inappropriate use of an older adult’s property, assets, or other finances.
- Neglect – Neglect occurs when the standard duty of care isn’t met for an older adult. Or, the refusal or failure to provide an older adult with the basic necessities (food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, safety, comfort, and medicine).
- Abandonment – The desertion of an older person by someone responsible for their care.
- Self-neglect – This is the least common type of nursing home abuse, and it occurs when an elderly person threatens their health and safety.
If you have questions about the various types of abuse, please give Rad Law Firm a call today.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Caring for older adults can be difficult, regardless of whether you are a caregiver or they are your family member. However, abuse or neglect is never OK. Learning the signs of nursing home abuse will help keep your loved one safe. Here are some of the most common signs to watch for:
- Unexplained broken bones, bruises, dislocations, or sprains
- Failure to take medications
- Rope marks and other signs of restraint on the elderly person’s wrists and ankles
- Unusual behavior
- Sudden injuries that are unexplainable
- Diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Trauma around the genitals
- Lack of food
- Dirty living space
- Soiled clothing or bedding
- Unpaid bills or an inability to pay bills
- Giving unexpected and excess gifts
- Providing control of finances to a caregiver
If you notice any of the above, report it right away. If you are suspicious or if the nursing home does not appear alarmed, contact the police.
I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse: Now What?
We cannot reiterate how important it is to take action when you suspect nursing home abuse. Far too many cases go unreported, and this must stop. Either call your local police or contact Adult Protective Services. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, it may also be helpful to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. We offer free consultations and stay prepared to fight for your rights. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment and get started. We have your loved one’s best interests in mind and will do everything we can to ensure those responsible are held accountable.