Many of us have older or elderly relatives that we either care for ourselves or visit regularly in a nursing home or long term care facility. While we may go out of our way to make sure they are comfortable, to visit them regularly, and make sure they have the things they need, problems can and do still occur. Nursing home abuse and neglect has become a common problem in this country, and causes serious and potentially fatal injuries to nursing home residents while causing pain and heartache for them and their families. Unfortunately, it can be difficult getting an older loved one to speak up about potential abuse that may be occurring; therefore, it is important for family and friends to be aware of the signs.
Nursing Home and Elder Abuse
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1.4 million people currently living in nursing homes. These residents rely on their caregivers to provide the medical care and treatment they need, as well as provide for their personal and social needs as well. Unfortunately, studies by the CDC indicate that over one in 10 people over the age of 60 report suffering mistreatment and abuse at the hands of their caregivers, and many more cases go unreported. The CDC lists the following types of elder abuse that can occur in nursing homes:
- Physical abuse, including hitting, pinching, kicking, or burning;
- Emotional or psychological abuse, such as name calling, shaming, bullying and destroying personal property;
- Neglect, including depriving the resident of food, water, and medical care or failing to meet their personal hygiene needs;
- Sexual abuse, which may include inappropriately touching or engaging in nonconsensual sexual acts; and
- Financial abuse and exploitation, such as stealing money, credit cards, and extortion.
Many residents feel powerless over their abusers and are reluctant to talk about the problem out of fear of reprisals. It is up to families and friends of nursing home residents to be alert and aware of the signs that abuse may be occurring.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
According to the National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEA), people who have a loved one living in nursing homes need to be aware of the fact that an isolated sign or incident does not always indicate an abusive situation. Speaking with your loved one’s caregivers or the nursing home administration may solve any minor problems or confusion. At the same time, if several signs or a pattern of abuse is present, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys immediately for help. Signs of abuse include:
- Bruises, broken bones, burns, and lacerations that cannot be explained adequately;
- Bruises to the breasts or genital region which could indicate sexual abuse;
- Unusual depressions or changes in alertness;
- Changes in financial situation and financial losses;
- Bedsores, poor hygiene, and untreated medical conditions; and
- Strained relationship and tension between your loved one or caregiver.
Many times, a person who is being abused will tend to isolate and withdraw from activities they once enjoyed. If you notice this type of behavior in your loved one, or any of the above signs of abuse, contact the authorities immediately.
Let Us Assist You
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys immediately. At Hogan Frick, we can advise you on how best to hold responsible parties accountable for the harm and injuries they have caused, and get the compensation your loved one needs to recover. We have offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland; call or contact us online for a free review of your case.