When you choose a nursing home for a family member, you trust that you are placing your loved one in safe and secure hands. You might be reluctant to admit that something isn’t right when signs of abuse appear, but these cases are becoming all too common.
Elderly individuals have as much right as anyone else to receive proper care from physicians, nurses, and other staff members so that they can maintain a high quality of life. This care includes ensuring that your loved one has proper hygiene, a clean living environment, and the necessary and appropriate treatment and medications. When the nursing home staff fails to provide these necessities or does something to intentionally harm your family member, their health and well-being could suffer.
The Abuse of Elderly American is More Common Than People Think
Now that the Baby Boomer generation is aging, more and more U.S. adults are living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It’s estimated that as many as one in ten Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. Between 1999 and 2001, approximately one-third of U.S. nursing homes had been cited for federal standards violations that could or did cause harm to residents. In some cases, patients lost their lives because of nursing home abuse and neglect.
The Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Unfortunately, there is no single type of nursing home abuse, which makes these devastating activities more difficult to prevent and spot. The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical. Physical abuse is the unnecessary and intentional use of force against a nursing home resident. This could take the form of using restraints or administering drugs when they aren’t medically necessary.
- Emotional. When a caregiver creates stress or anxiety in a nursing home resident, they are creating an environment filled with emotional abuse. A staff member might verbally abuse a patient by calling them names, yelling at them, or shaming them for things that are beyond their control.
- Sexual. Sexual abuse in nursing homes is one of the most horrendous forms of abuse that a trusted staff member can inflict on a patient. This type of abuse might include rape or sexual assault as well as forcing the patient to undress for no reason.
- Financial. A common type of nursing home and elder abuse is financial exploitation. Residents are dependent on caregivers, who sometimes take advantage of the situation through identity theft, bank fraud scams, and healthcare fraud.
- Negligence. When a nursing home fails to provide a reasonable standard of care, this is also abuse. A facility could be negligent if they fail to attend to the physical and emotional needs of their patients.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Because many elderly nursing home residents also have illnesses and other physical difficulties, recognizing nursing home abuse can be a challenge. Yet, the physical signs of abuse are the easiest to spot. These include such things as unexplained bruising, cuts, scratches, welts, and broken or fractured bones.
It’s important to also look out for signs of emotional and sexual abuse in a nursing home resident. If a loved one suffers from rapid weight loss, shows fear of staff members, or become uncommunicative, there could be a serious issue. Other signs include agitation, inappropriate behavior, depression and anxiety, and even attempts at suicide.
Financial abuse can also occur with little to no warning given to family members. Someone that your loved one trusts could begin scamming them for cash or manipulating them while they are vulnerable. Signs include unusual purchases or canceled checks, names added to bank accounts, and loss of expensive personal items.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky
If you suspect that a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, your first priority should be to remove them from a dangerous situation. Law enforcement and state agencies may need to get involved to ensure that staff responsible for wrongdoing are removed, but you and your family should never have to suffer financially due to the misconduct of someone else.
Speak with an experienced Louisville nursing home abuse attorney who will thoroughly investigate your case, protect your rights, and fight for the just compensation you deserve. The Slechter Law Firm serves clients throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana who have loved ones suffering from nursing home abuse and neglect. Contact us now at (502) 384-7400 or online to schedule a free consultation appointment.