If you are faced with the prospect of putting a parent, or other elderly loved one, in a nursing home, you are probably concerned about the care the facility will provide. Sadly, with nursing home abuse and neglect occurring far too often in the United States, your concerns are justified. Taking the time to do your homework when selecting a nursing home is one way to alleviate some of your concerns. Another is to learn to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect so that you can act promptly if you start to suspect your loved one is a victim. To help you keep your elderly loved one safe, the Vero Beach nursing home lawyers discuss signs of abuse and neglect.
Nursing Home Abuse Fact and Figures
Compiling accurate figures relating to abuse and neglect of the elderly, in any setting, is difficult for several reasons. First, because the laws relating to elder abuse are changing rapidly across the county, reporting requirements differ significantly across the various states, making it difficult to compile relevant data. In addition, victims of elder abuse and/or neglect are often reluctant to admit being victimized for one of two reasons. The first is that they are embarrassed or ashamed to be a victim, despite the fact that they have done nothing wrong. It often adds to the feeling that have lost their independence. The second reason is that victims are often dependent on their abusers and, thereby, fear reprisals if they report the abuse and/or neglect. Consider the following:
- More than 40% of nursing home residents have reported abuse, and more than 90% report that they or another resident of the facility have been neglected;
- Research from 2010 indicates that up to half of all nursing home attendants have admitted abusing or neglecting elderly patients;
- More than half of all Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN’s) in elder care facilities have admitted verbally abusing, yelling at, and using foul language with elderly residents of care facilities.
- A study of 2,000 nursing facility residents indicated an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent.
- Complaints of abuse, exploitation or neglect accounted for 7 percent of complaints given to Ombudsmen at long term care facilities.
The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect – Knowing What to Look for Is Critical
Once you have selected a nursing home for your parent (or loved one), you must hope that you chose the right one. If, at some point, you start to get concerned about your parent, or you start to suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, taking a “better safe than sorry” approach is best. To help you evaluate the situation, read through the following potential signs of nursing home abuse and/or neglect:
- Marks on wrists or ankles, possibly from restraints
- Excessive and/or unexplained physical injuries
- Mood swings
- Deteriorating hygiene habits
- Weight loss
- Angry outbursts
- Medication problems (may indicate not being given timely or at all)
What To Do If You DO Spot Signs of Abuse
If you spot the signs of abuse, try talking to your loved one. Your loved one may be reluctant to admit the abuse because they are embarrassed or because they have been threatened by their abusers, who are also their caregivers. Approach the subject gently and explain that, sadly, elder abuse is fairly common and that your loved one is not alone. You should also try to report the abuse to an administrator and/or the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction. Finally, consult with an experienced elder law attorney to discuss your legal options. While elder abuse is a criminal offense in most states, it can also form the basis for a civil lawsuit based one negligence. In addition, you may need to discuss petitioning for guardianship over your parent in order to have the legal authority to move him/her immediately or to do so in the future for any reason.
Contact Vero Beach Nursing Home Lawyers
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the experienced Vero Beach nursing home lawyers at Kulas Law Group by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment.